Sign language acquisition requires learning how to comprehend and produce a linguistic system that is visual in nature, as opposed to spoken language acquisition which uses the auditory-visual modality. In this chapter, we consider the impact this has for a child acquiring a sign language. We summarize the research literature on sign language production and comprehension, and attempt to integrate psycholinguistic studies with work documenting the visual perceptual abilities of deaf children. While much of this research emphasizes the experience-dependent nature of language processing abilities, reinforcing the importance of early exposure for native-like acquisition, we caution against overgeneralizing from studies of adult processing and call for more child-specific language studies related to comprehension and production within varying acquisition environments.
|Title of host publication||Understanding Deafness, Language and Cognitive Development:|
|Subtitle of host publication||Essays in honour of Bencie Woll|
|Publisher||John Benjamins Publishing Company|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2020|
|Name||Trends in Language Acquisition Research|