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Sign Language Acquisition Projects

Dr. Richard P. Meier, Principal Investigator
University of Texas Children's Research Lab


About Us

Introduction

Our research is primarily concerned with the acquisition of American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language. We believe that the study of language acquisition in a different modality (i.e., visual/gestural rather than aural/oral) can contribute a great deal to our understanding of all children's capacity for language learning. We use natural observations of infants with their parents to answer questions about babbling, the emergence of first signs in ASL, and the adjustments that parents make when they sign to their babies.

Research on Acquisition of Sign Languages

Cheek, A., K. Cormier, A. Repp, & R. P. Meier. In press. Prelinguistic Gesture Predicts Mastery and Error in the Production of Children's Early Signs. Language.

Conlin, K. E., Mirus, G., Mauk, C., & Meier, R. P. 2000. Acquisition of first signs: Place, handshape, and movement. In: C. Chamberlain, J. P. Morford, & R. Mayberry (eds.), The Acquisition of Linguistic Representation by Eye. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 51-69.

Holzrichter, A. S., & Meier, R. P. 2000. Child-directed signing in American Sign Language. In: C. Chamberlain, J. P. Morford, & R. Mayberry (eds.), The Acquisition of Linguistic Representation by Eye. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 25-40.

Cheek, A., K. Cormier, & R. P. Meier. 1998. Continuities and Discontinuities between Manual Babbling and Early Signing. Presented at the Sixth International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research. Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, November 12-15, 1998.

Cheek, A., K. Cormier, C. Rathmann, C. Mauk, A. Repp, & R.P. Meier. 1998.
Motoric Constraints Link Manual Babbling and Early Signs. Presented at the 11th Biennial International Conference for Infancy Studies, Atlanta, GA, April 2-5, 1998.

Cormier, K., C. Mauk & A. Repp. 1998. Manual Babbling in Deaf and Hearing Infants: A Longitudinal Study. The Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Child Language Research Forum, Stanford, CA: CSLI.

Meier, R. P. In press 2000. Shared motoric factors in the acquisition of sign and speech. In: K. G. Emmorey & H. Lane (eds.), The Signs of Language Revisited. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 331-354.

Meier, R., G. Mirus & K. Conlin. 1998. Motoric Constraints on Early Sign Acquisition. The Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Child Language Research Forum, Stanford, CA: CSLI.

Mirus, G., C. Rathmann & R.P. Meier. 1998. Proximalization of Sign Movement by Second Language Learners. Presented at the Sixth International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research. Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, November 12-15, 1998.

Meier, R., L. McGarvin, R. Zakia, R. Willerman. 1997. Silent Mandibular Oscillations in Vocal Babbling. Phonetica, v. 54, 153-171.
Paper available for a small fee from online service of Phonetica publisher (Karger)

Holzrichter, A. 1995. Motherese in American Sign Language. MA Thesis, University of Texas at Austin.
Electronic version of thesis available from: holz@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu

Research on Linguistics of Sign Languages

Meier, R. P., D. Quinto & K. Cormier (eds.). In press. Modality and Structure in Signed and Spoken Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mathur, G., C. Rathmann & G. Mirus. 1998. Why Not 'GIVE-US': an Articulatory Constraint in Signed Languages. Presented at the Sixth International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research. Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, November 12-15, 1998.

Sasaki, D. 1998. Movement Classification and Aspectual Modulations. Presented at the Sixth International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research. Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, November 12-15, 1998.

Cormier, K. 1998. Grammatical and Anaphoric Agreement in American Sign Language. MA Thesis, Univeristy of Texas at Austin.
Thesis abstract (HTML)
Full text (PDF format, readable with free Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Cormier, K., S. Wechsler, & R. P. Meier. 1998. Locus Agreement in American Sign Language. In Lexical and Constructional Aspects of Linguistic Explanation, ed. by J.P. Koenig, G. Webulhuth, & A. Kathol. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Based on paper presented at 1997 HPSG Conference

Cormier, K. 1997. Locus Agreement in American Sign Language: An HPSG Analysis. Presented at the 1997 International Conference on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, Cornell University, July 18-20.

Funding

This research is supported in part by a grant (R01 DC01691-04) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, to Richard P. Meier.

Links of Interest

UT-Austin Web Central
Children's Research Lab
Psychology Department
Linguistics Department
UT Commuications and Sciences Disorders Department (ASL courses)
Sign Linguistics Resource Index


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Under Construction
These pages created by Kearsy Cormier
Last updated: August 29, 2000
Send comments to:
kearsy@mail.utexas.edu