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Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 503–543 | Cite as

The gradual emergence of phonological form in a new language

  • Wendy Sandler
  • Mark Aronoff
  • Irit Meir
  • Carol Padden
Article

Abstract

The division of linguistic structure into a meaningless (phonological) level and a meaningful level of morphemes and words is considered a basic design feature of human language. Although established sign languages, like spoken languages, have been shown to be characterized by this bifurcation, no information has been available about the way in which such structure arises. We report here on a newly emerging sign language, Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, which functions as a full language but in which a phonological level of structure has not yet emerged. Early indications of formal regularities provide clues to the way in which phonological structure may develop over time.

Keywords

Phonology Duality of patterning Sign language 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Sandler
    • 1
  • Mark Aronoff
    • 2
  • Irit Meir
    • 3
  • Carol Padden
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of English Language and LiteratureUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsSUNY Stony BrookStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Department of Hebrew Language, Department of Communication DisordersUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  4. 4.Department of CommunicationUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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