Perception and production of language in the visual modality: Implications for sign language development

Matthew Dye, Robin Thompson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Deafness, Language and Cognitive Development:
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in honour of Bencie Woll
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9789027204493
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameTrends in Language Acquisition Research
Publisherjohn benjamins


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