A first study on the development of spatial viewpoint in sign language acquisition

Beyza Sümer, Pamela Perniss, Asli Özyürek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The current study examines, for the first time, the viewpoint preferences of sign- ing children in expressing spatial relations that require imposing a viewpoint (left-right, front-behind). We elicited spatial descriptions from deaf children (4–9 years of age) acquiring Turkish Sign Language (TİD) natively from their deaf parents and from adult native signers of TİD. Adults produced these spatial descriptions from their own viewpoint and from that of their addressee depend- ing on whether the objects were located on the lateral or the sagittal axis. TİD- acquiring children, on the other hand, described all spatial configurations from their own viewpoint. Differences were also found between children and adults in the type of linguistic devices and how they are used to express such spatial relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Environment and Cognition in Language Development: Studies in honor of Ayhan Aksu-Koç
EditorsF.N. Ketrez, A.C. Küntay, S. Özcaliskan, A. Özyürek
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, NL
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789027265388
ISBN (Print)9789027244116
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameTrends in Language Acquisition Research


  • sign language acquisition
  • viewpoint
  • spatial language


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