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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Research interest in sign L21 sign acquisition is growing, fueled by dramatic increases in sign language learning (Welles, 2004). Researchers ask to what extent typical L2 patterns apply to hearing students learning an L2 in a new modality, or M2 (second modality)-L2 learners. M2 acquisition may pose unique challenges not observed in typical (unimodal) L2 acquisition. At the same time, co-speech gestures and emblems could potentially be exploited to facilitate M2-L2 acquisition of sign language. Additionally, examination of acquisition of a second signed language by individuals with a signed L1, or M1 (first modality)-L2 learners, provides further opportunity to test “typical” patterns of L2 acquisition that have been established almost exclusively on the basis of hearing spoken second-language acquisition. This chapter summarizes the small but growing literature on L2 sign acquisition for both M1 and M2 learners, exploring some of the intriguing research questions offered by L2 sign research.

Keywords: L2, second language acquisition, modality, transfer, critical period

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