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The challenges of viewpoint-taking when learning a sign language: Data from the 'frog story' in British Sign Language

Gulamani, S., Marshall, C. and Morgan, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-9495-1274 (2020). The challenges of viewpoint-taking when learning a sign language: Data from the 'frog story' in British Sign Language. Second Language Research, doi: 10.1177/0267658320906855

Abstract

Little is known about how hearing adults learn sign languages. Our objective in this study was to investigate how learners of British Sign Language (BSL) produce narratives, and we focused in particular on viewpoint-taking. Twenty-three intermediate-level learners of BSL and 10 deaf native/early signers produced a narrative in BSL using the wordless picture book Frog, where are you? (Mayer, 1969). We selected specific episodes from part of the book that provided rich opportunities for shifting between different characters and taking on different viewpoints. We coded for details of story content, the frequency with which different viewpoints were used and how long those viewpoints were used for, and the numbers of articulators that were used simultaneously. We found that even though learners’ and deaf signers’ narratives did not differ in overall duration, learners’ narratives had less content. Learners used character viewpoint less frequently than deaf signers. Although learners spent just as long as deaf signers in character viewpoint, they spent longer than deaf signers in observer viewpoint. Together, these findings suggest that character viewpoint was harder than observer viewpoint for learners. Furthermore, learners were less skilled than deaf signers in using multiple articulators simultaneously. We conclude that challenges for learners of sign include taking character viewpoint when narrating a story and encoding information across multiple articulators simultaneously.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Gulamani, S., Marshall, C. and Morgan, G. (2020). The challenges of viewpoint-taking when learning a sign language: Data from the 'frog story' in British Sign Language. Second Language Research, ©The Author(s) 2020. DOI: 10.1177/0267658320906855.
Publisher Keywords: character viewpoint, co-speech gesture, narrative, observer viewpoint, sign language, viewpoint
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23933
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