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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Discussion Details

Title: Re: Media: BBC: Baby Signing
Submitter: Mark J. Jones
Description: Dear all,

I saw a report on the Baby Signing movement some months ago on
the BBC. It seems to me to be a bit misguided - like giving a kid one of
those baby walkers instead of letting it crawl and strengthen upper
body as well as lower body muscles ready for bipedalism. That
probably sounds very anti-signing, but I don't intend it to, and I'm not
casting aspersions on sign languages or sign acquisition or cases of
sign-speech bilingualism. Baby Signing just seems a bit faddy, with
the possible consequence that children's speech development may be
delayed for no good reason. Is speech likely to be delayed at all by
something like this? Does anyone have any more expert views on
whether or not this is actually a good idea for kids who would
otherwise be trying to communicate vocally?


Mark J. Jones
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge
Date Posted: 06-Jun-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
LL Issue: 16.1769
Posted: 06-Jun-2005

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