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Writing a Term Paper in Psycholinguistics, a Sign Language Perspective

People Using Sign Language

In the previous article, we have touched upon the main theory of the science called psycholinguistics and its core peculiarities. In this one, we will observe the process more precisely taking a sign language and its connection to the psychological processes as an example.

As a science of language learning surmounts with all processes from thought evoking to its formatting and producing with an articular device, the sign language takes only a part of this procedure, however, it is actively involved in the research process of exploring the cognitive actions within one’s mind as a natural opportunity to investigate a separate procedure from any other.

Even being one of the youngest fields in the linguistic researches this topic is worth mentioning simply because it takes much more space as a separate particular characteristic that helps us to distinguish the universal human processes in creating a spoken thought from some of the cognitive processing within the constrained lingual abilities.

The language without its oral producing that could reflect with a sound but with gestures, mimics and other facilities, the step-to-step procedure from the creation of an idea, transferring it within additional means of language producing and self-comprehension of a range of movements which involve mimic facial expressions, hands and fingers gesturing as well as image contouring in the air.

So, what should be enlightened in your term paper to make it fully coherent by your professor? Have some patience and let’s begin.

Processes Inside Our Mind

  • Co-articulatory factors. Studies have shown that the small changes in hand gestures or face expressions can be noticed by signers just like alterations in pitches and tempo etc. in spoken language;
  • Another important fact: the signs that take more time to show than a spoken word surprisingly take less time for their recognition by the other signer. For an English spoken word about 80% of the sound must be conducted until it is the identification is defined, in contrast to 35% of the image showing process for a sign;
  • Phonological awareness. This function is presented among deaf people as well and copes with understanding whether the words are being finished and others begin – in other words divided. In a spoken language, it is rhyme that is used mostly in poetry, songs, language games. But in a language of signs it is handshape and movements. It is called a categorical perception for phonological parameters;
  • In the sight of a memory should be stated that both spoken and sign languages have a classic working model of memory which means that a serial recall for words that have a phonological similarity like dog, fog, frog, log, cog is lower and poorer for both types of languages. Words produced as sign are being stored with a phonetic code just like spoken ones. This is another proof about how similar the processes act in your head.

Influence of Iconicity in a Sign Language

Person Gesturing

Recently an interesting experiment in the US has been conducted. The objective of it was to determine whether there is any influence on the translation improvements for hearing volunteers and professional signers when using iconicity (the resemblance between a sign and its meaning). The results have shown that the proficient ASL performers are being able to learn more of iconic words in the early age when learning process should be easier and faster, however, when it comes to interpreting them in adolescence they suddenly experience struggle as an iconic sign turned to have a few definitions.

As well as people who can hear and have been taught some of the sign words for the experiment, they could understand the meaning of the iconic signs much better than non-iconic ones. Apparently, the cognitive processes in their language perception have turned another direction as the images and their definitions we find similar have undergone modifications and are being presented in a different way.

Any Other Peculiarities?

A few studies have shown that during the process of communication different parts located in brain where used both in signers and hearing people. A recent survey went further and even stated the difference in perceiving information between deaf children from birth and hearing children who come from the families with deaf parents. Indeed, hearing has an impact on the neurological system and especially in the auditory region of processing, while children of deaf people have this section much less active and developed sight recognition.

The brain of the signers takes this kind of communication just like a language. However, there can be a few types of gesturing.

Another experiment has asked their participants to explain an object like a cup of tea with their own means of interaction and found out that the deaf people were mostly pantomiming rather than signing. After that, scientists have asked them to be more precise in showing and they used different movements to show the process of drinking the same cup of tea (as an example).

The result is, the one and only definition does not always carry the same connotation and the sign language may be even more various in this case.

What is also crucial to know that there is not one universal sign language, with the help of which all deaf people can communicate. It is a common misunderstanding because as many spoken languages there are, as many are there sign dialects. It proves again that the means of communication for deaf people varies and is the same for only one community. Nevertheless, the image associations are to be differed by the way one community perceives that image.

To sum up, it seems and is being proven already that the language that does not produces its meaning with sounds, still has syntax, all grammar structure which extremely resembles the spoken language of the same region and compositionality. The cognitive processes within the same regions of the brain may produce different language production, although the same language connotation.

We really hope this article was helpful for you. Stay updated with our news and get to know much more about academic writing!

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