A Semantic and Pragmatic Study of BSL: Age of Acquisition Effects on Multi-channel Sign Production


  • Kim Webster Nottingham Trent University


British Sign Language, Sign language linguistics, pragmatics, language acquisition


The age of which deaf children acquire British Sign Language (BSL) has been found to have marked differences at the levels of morphology, phonology, grammar and syntax. AoA of semantics and pragmatics is under-researched, and therefore provided the focus of the study. This study was focused on finding whether there was a semantic and pragmatic difference in multi-channel sign production between early-learners and late-learner of BSL, specifically because of AoA differences in when they first acquired BSL. It also considered whether there were differences in other sign productions such as negation, which was used in place of the multi-channel sign. The study found no significant differences in multi-channel sign production and further suggests this may be due to cognitive development and language experience.