Psycholinguistiek en taalstoornissen
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In the beginning of the 60s, people realized that the signs of sign languages could be described as a simultaneous bundle of phonemes (place of articulation, handconfiguration, orientation, movement). This proved to be inspiring for the further development of sign language linguistics. Moreover, this phonemic description correlates with psychological, perceptual and expressive strategies in native users.In young deaf children who acquire a sign language, we see an early development of phonological awareness. This specific aware-ness might be linked to the kinesiologicai and psychomotor status of the sign language articulators. It could be exploited in bilingual (sign language/ spoken language) programs for educating deaf children.The introduction of sign systems rather than sign language in communication with other populations (severely mentally retarded, autistic) still leaves the question open whether the learning of signs mirrors the learning of its phonemes. Proposals for analyzing sign phonemes can be used to test this. Our data are based on an imitation and a memory test with nonverbal, severely mentally retarded persons. They point in the direction of a hier-archical gradual mastery of 'psychomotor' features of the handshape.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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