The road to language learning is iconic: evidence from British Sign Language
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Colleges, School and Institutes
An arbitrary link between linguistic form and meaning is generally considered a universal feature of language. However, iconic (i.e., nonarbitrary) mappings between properties of meaning and features of linguistic form are also widely present across languages, especially signed languages. Although recent research has shown a role for sign iconicity in language processing, research on the role of iconicity in sign-language development has been mixed. In this article, we present clear evidence that iconicity plays a role in sign-language acquisition for both the comprehension and production of signs. Signed languages were taken as a starting point because they tend to encode a higher degree of iconic form-meaning mappings in their lexicons than spoken languages do, but our findings are more broadly applicable: Specifically, we hypothesize that iconicity is fundamental to all languages (signed and spoken) and that it serves to bridge the gap between linguistic form and human experience.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2012|