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Which aspects of visual motivation aid the implicit learning of signs at first exposure?

Hofweber, Julia, Aumonier, Lizzy, Janke, Vikki, Gullberg, Marianne, Marshall, Chloe (2023) Which aspects of visual motivation aid the implicit learning of signs at first exposure? Language Learning, . (doi:DOI: 10.1111/lang.12587) (KAR id:98666)


We investigated whether sign-naïve learners can infer and learn the meaning of signs after minimal exposure to continuous, naturalistic input in the form of a weather forecast in Swedish Sign Language. Participants were L1-English adults. Two experimental groups watched the forecast once (N=40) or twice (N=42); a control group did not (N=42). Participants were then asked to assign meaning to 22 target signs. We explored predictors of meaning assignment with respect to item occurrence frequency and three facets of visual-motivation: iconicity, transparency, and gesture similarity. Meaning assignment was enhanced by exposure and item frequency, thereby providing evidence for implicit language learning in a new modality, even under challenging naturalistic conditions. Accuracy was also contingent upon iconicity and transparency, but not upon gesture similarity. Meaning assignment at first exposure is thus visually-motivated, although the overall low accuracy rates and further qualitative analyses suggest that visually-motivated meaning assignment is not always successful.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: DOI: 10.1111/lang.12587
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Uncontrolled keywords: Implicit learning; sign language; iconicity; transparency; gesture; meaning
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Vikki Janke
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2022 09:07 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 05:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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