New sign language suggests children create language's fundamentals through learning

nt, and they happen together in the gestures speakers make. But, the children go against everything they're seeing, in favor of something that takes more effort -- they separate manner and path into independent elements. And it so happens that this is what we see in language after language," Senghas said.

Thus, parents may not need to worry too much about teaching children to talk by a certain age or using special tools like flashcards or vocabulary drills, she said. All they need is natural social interaction.

"Kids have their radar out from the beginning; they're looking for language-like information in the world. And they're ready to process that information in a specific way. You don't need to teach children language any more than you need to teach them to walk," Senghas said.


Contact: Jessica Lawrence-Hurt
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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