Investigating sign languages in the Chinese context

Authored by: Jia Li , Jia He , Gladys Tang

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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For decades, sign linguists have been identifying ways to examine the linguistic structure of natural sign languages, how they differ from other visual communication systems and how they are acquired by deaf and hearing children. In this chapter, we will discuss some recent attempts to investigate sign languages in the Chinese context, elucidating how they demonstrate linguistic rules of organization and at the same time interact with oral and written Chinese, the languages used in the larger hearing community. We have also summarized studies that examine how deaf children acquire Hong Kong Sign Language and spoken languages. Cross-linguistic interaction, as observed in unimodal bilingual children of spoken languages, is also observed among bimodal bilinguals.

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