Advances in the Sign Language Development of Deaf Children

By Brenda Schick; Marc Marschark et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

8
Learning to Fingerspell Twice:
Young Signing Children's
Acquisition of Fingerspelling

Carol A. Padden

We tend to think of fingerspelling as a simple manual system for representing the alphabet. When adult second-language learners of American Sign Language (ASL) are first taught the system, they are often told that a fingerspelled word is made up of a sequence of hand shapes and that fingerspelling involves transitioning each hand shape into the next in an efficient way. Though some hand shapes are similar and are easily confused, adults can learn the system in a few lessons. For the young sign language learner, however, learning to fingerspell is a different task altogether.

This chapter reviews recent studies of fingerspelling in ASL, including those that discuss how young signers begin to construct fingerspelled words. As I will explain, these descriptions of early fingerspelling show that acquiring fingerspelling in ASL involves two sets of skills: first, the child learns to recognize fingerspelled words as whole units, and then, when reading and writing English become more prominent in the child's life, the child begins to understand fingerspelled words as made up of hand shapes that correspond to the letters of the alphabet. In the latter sense, the child learns fingerspelling a second time—this time in terms of its internal composition and its link to English words in their written form. I conclude by addressing implications of this pattern of acquisition of fingerspelling for early education of young deaf children.

-189-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Advances in the Sign Language Development of Deaf Children
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 395

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?