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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."


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Academic Paper


Title: Age, frequency, and iconicity in early sign language acquisition: Evidence from the Israeli Sign Language MacArthur–Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory
Author: Rama Novogrodsky
Author: Natalia Meir
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Semantics
Subject Language: Israeli Sign Language
Abstract: The current study described the development of the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory (CDI) for Israeli Sign Language (ISL) and investigated the effects of age, sign iconicity, and sign frequency on lexical acquisition of bimodal-bilingual toddlers acquiring ISL. Previous findings bring inconclusive evidence on the role of sign iconicity (the relationship between form and meaning) and sign frequency (how often a word/sign is used in the language) on the acquisition of signs. The ISL-CDI consisted of 563 video clips. Iconicity ratings from 41 sign-naïve Hebrew-speaking adults (Study 1A) and sign frequency ratings from 19 native ISL adult signers (Study 1B) were collected. ISL vocabulary was evaluated in 34 toddlers, native signers (Study 2). Results indicated significant effects of age, strong correlations between parental ISL ratings and ISL size even when age was controlled for, and strong correlations between naturalistic data and ISL-CDI scores, supporting the validity of the ISL-CDI. Moreover, the results revealed effects of iconicity, frequency, and interactions between age and the iconicity and frequency factors, suggesting that both iconicity and frequency are modulated by age. The findings contribute to the field of sign language acquisition and to our understanding of potential factors affecting human language acquisition beyond language modality.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 41, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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