The ability to develop a form of communication that becomes an actual language is apparently innate, new University of Chicago research on the use of gestures among deaf children and experiments with adults shows.
Psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadows work with adults and children also shows which features of language seem to come more easily, and are therefore resilient, such as using order to convey who does what to whom. Her research also shows which characteristics are more difficult to develop, particularly without linguistic input. She has found that youngsters inventing their own sign language do not form verb tenses, for instance.
Goldin-Meadow, the Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago, will present her findings in a paper, "The Resilience of Language," at 9 a.m. Feb. 15 at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle.
William Harms | EurekAlert!
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