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Oct 2, 2022
Faculty and Staff
American Sign Language
The Acquisition of ASL Morphosyntax in New Signers
A growing number of deaf students are arriving at Gallaudet without signing experience, calling for a need to understand their unique language learning situation. Such deaf learners have not been a focus of signed second language (M2L2) research.
The influence of deaf people’s early visual experiences and the strength of their early-language experience on their later visual linguistic structures have not been sufficiently explored. This project aims to address this by studying how deaf, new signers’ acquisition of morphosyntactic structures in ASL is affected by their early language and visual experiences.
The productions of two grammatical structures in ASL are explored:
To disambiguate the contributions of first language (strong vs. weak) and sensory experiences (hearing vs. deaf), three groups are represented: hearing M2L2, deaf M2L2 with a strong English foundation, and deaf M2L2 with a weak English foundation.
The five measures are:
It is hypothesized that deaf people’s language-independent visual-spatial abilities positively influence their use of pointing and other visual-spatial structures.
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Lecturer II/UG ASL Program Coordinator
Kenneth De Haan
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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