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Gesture, signs and L2/M2 acquisition corpus in Swedish Sign Language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Swedish as a Second Language for the Deaf.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8579-0771
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Sign Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0612-6304
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The emerging research field of L2/M2 acquisition in signed languages is contributing toour understanding of human languages in various ways. What are the challenges oflearning a new language that is manifested in a different modality? Is there anymodality-specific component, as well as language-specific component, that is harder toacquire than others? And how does this relate to questions concerning the acquisition ofsigned modalities in light of gesture-language discussions (Kendon, 2014)? For example,it has been shown in earlier research that a gesture “strategy” can be advantageous aswell as disadvantageous for the L2 learners of any signed language (Ortega & Morgan,2015). In light of this, our paper will present some preliminary notes from the analysis of an L2learner corpus in Swedish Sign Language that consists of longitudinal data (1.5 years) from hearing adult students learning SSL in an SSL interpreting program at theuniversity level. The learner corpus in SSL, which was started in 2013, so far contains approximately 14 hours of data from a total of 26 learners and is still expanding. We also collected data from a control group consisting of three L1 learners. Additionally, part of the corpus has been annotated with tiers for sign glosses and an L2 relatedanalysis. We conducted a qualitative analysis that included a performance analysis on the sign vocabulary on annotated data in the SSL as L2 corpus and compared the outcomes with the L1 control group. In our analysis, we adopted an applied view, dividing up thevocabulary into the three main sign types proposed by (Hodge & Johnston, 2014): 1) lexical signs; 2) partly lexical signs; and 3) non-lexical signs. In our study, we are specifically interested in how L2 learners acquire “partly lexical signs”, i.e. pointing signs (pronouns, indexing signs) and depicting signs (classifier constructions, polycomponential signs). We hypothesized that learning a language in a modality thatallows for a high degree of iconically motivated vocabulary makes it possible forlearners to, in fact, imitate the tasks or events from a stimulus in an elicited narrative task. But what are the error types, and how should the differences between depicting signs by L1 and L2 signers be described? Is there a gesture strategy used here, and is it linked to a typical L2/M2 strategy? Our results showed qualitative differences between L2 and L1 learners regarding theuse of depicting signs. In the L2 group, depicting signs describing size and shape were used less frequently than in the L1 group, while the L2 group varied more in depicting signs representing handle (agentive) classifiers. Furthermore, the learners also relied onother strategies, e.g. fingerspellings and mouthings. The results will be discussed froman acquisition view as well in light of the gesture-language discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147234OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147234DiVA: diva2:1142548
Conference
Language as a form of action, Rome, Italy, June 21-23, 2017
Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2017-09-21Bibliographically approved

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