Cyclic Movement Primitives Underlying Two-Handed Alternating Signs In Signed Languages
Keywords:sign language, movement primitives, two-handed balanced signs, central pattern generators
In speech, biomechanical constraints shape phonetics-phonology. For example, English /r/ variants are selected based on minimizing biomechanical effort  and a single motor action in the tongue may govern multiple speech events to improve movement efficiency . We propose that signed languages are similarly constrained by biomechanics. Specifically, the present paper considers the hypothesis that otherwise unexplained universal aspects of sign languages can be understood as resulting from a preference for repeated alternating arm movements triggered by vestigial locomotor CPGs developed in human ancestors for quadrupedal locomotion.
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