Children are able to spontaneously invent sign language

Дети способны спонтанно придумывать язык жестов

Once in terms of inability to communicate through voice, children may in a short time to create their own sign language.

Researchers from Stanford University, the University of Leipzig and the Planck Institute for evolutionary anthropology found that young children can recreate the basic properties of spoken language, using sign language, when the conversation out loud for some reason impossible. Experiments conducted by scientists, described in the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Specialists study all aspects of language, including its development. But most modern human languages have evolved over a long period of time, which complicates the research process. To solve this problem, researchers sometimes conduct experiments in which try to recreate the appearance of a new language or form. The easiest way to achieve this is to make people interact with each other, limiting their most natural form of communication.

In the new study, experts observed the children who were trying to communicate with each other via Skype when muted. Subjects were asked to give each other the content of the pictures. Initially the images were relatively easy to demonstrate (e.g., hammer), but gradually became more complicated. So, in one case one of the subjects received a blank sheet of paper and for some time was confused, because to show “nothing” is quite difficult.

But after a short time the child pointed to the “source” on the white element on his clothes and offered a gesture for the transmission of that color. In fact, at this point in their lexicon the word “white”. Scientists say that the compilation is a brief “sign dictionary” children spend only about half an hour.

The results of the experiments show that children have the basic skills needed not only for natural language acquisition, but also for the spontaneous creation of a new. The speed with which they create such a structured system, are changing theories of language evolution — a process that, as is commonly believed, takes many thousands of years.

Previously teachers found that choral singing can be an effective tool for language learning, and researchers from the University of London found that children from families multilingually understand sign language better than those whose families speak only one language.

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