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From:  Joe Martin
Date:  Sat Jul 1, 2000  5:29 am
Subject:  native speakers

Stefan asks:

> Is there anybody on the list who has got an idea whether I would do very
> much wrong if I would show confidence in what little Irina and her
> friends
> are going to develop - I mean the structure of SL?

If I were you I would have great big buckets of confidence in her.
Nowadays it's pretty much a fundamental concept of linguistics that
"native speakers are never wrong."
This means that languages are formed and maintained by the
people who use them, that those who learn the language from birth as a
first language have complete mastery of them, and everyone else has to
accept their judgements as to what is acceptable or not. (the linguists
argue about whether that mastery is biological or whatever, but
everyone accepts that it is there.)
Another well established idea is that by the age of 5, unless there is
interfernece with normal input, a child has already
mastered all the major points of their language

and to repeat what you already know, "native speakers" in the case of
signing, are the deaf children of signing parents. Isn't Irina one of
those? and isn't she 5? and can't she sign? You've got an
expert right there. Noam Chomsky would be asking her for judgements on

In message 3689, you asked:
> "What is little Irina doing if she doesn't follow the rules?
Well, according to current linguistic theory, she is a native speaker, she
doesn't *follow the rules, she *makes the rules.

None of all that really matters as far as Signwriting, of course. Just
write down what everyone signs. If some of us ain't no good
talkers, we be just a dialect, y'unnerstand.

Joe Martin, Plain Old Ordinary Student
Top Left Corner USA

:-)))) PS; why do you keep calling me Martin? I'm Joe; martin is my *last
name. LOL ;-)))

  Replies Author Date
3722 Re: native speakers Stefan Woehrmann Sat  7/1/2000
3725 Re: native speakers Angus B. Grieve-Smith Sat  7/1/2000
3726 Re: native speakers Joe Martin Sun  7/2/2000
3727 Re: native speakers Angus B. Grieve-Smith Sun  7/2/2000
3729 Re: native speakers Joe Martin Sun  7/2/2000

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