Bridging languages

Bridging languages by Barbra Kelly

It was interesting to read this article and learn about the benefits of signing language. Sign language is not only beneficial to the deaf community, it also has benefits for people with language deficits. Before reading this article I thought teaching a child sing language would be counterproductive as they’re going to rely on it. However, I quickly learned that sign language works as a transitional device into lexical development as it provides a way for children to refer to objects when they do not have the spoken language to refer to said objects. Thus, it can be said that sign language plays a facilitating role in early language development.

A child might feel frustrated if they’re trying to talk and he is only able to make vocalizations that cannot be understood. Signing provides the child with confidence and allows him to communicate while establishing connections in the brain that are necessary for spoken language. For example, in the article, Gail would say sounds that appeared to be attempts at speech but was often not understood, and was never able to say the correct word after a language model. However, on the first day that she was taught the sign for flower she was able to manually sign it, yet still not able to verbalize it. This positive communication experience works as a reinforcer to continued communication, whereas language modeling would have failed and caused her to possibly become more frustrated.

3 thoughts on “Bridging languages

  1. Sign language has always been something that fascinated me. As an aspiring polyglot, I think ASL is one of languages that I really want to be able to learn. To me, sign language should definitely be facilitated in more academic environments; e.g. being given/taught as another language in school. I was intrigued about how quickly the baby (Gail) that you mentioned in the article picked up on the manual sign and that overall connection to lexical development. Great topic!

  2. Nice read1 This article reminded me of my uncle. I am fluent in only the basics of sign language. However, my uncle who is deaf is able to use his articulators to communicate the words he is trying to tell me. By doing so, I am able to communicate with him thoroughly with the use of some signing ofcourse. 🙂

  3. It was very nice to read your post. I learned the basics of ASL in middle school but many of my friends took it throughout their high school careers. I find the language of ASL to be very intriguing as it is used in place of vocalization. It was also interesting to see how quickly Gail was able to pick up sign language before verbalizing words.

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