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Use of ENTITY, HANDLE and DESCRIPTOR in L2 learners of Swedish Sign Language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Sign Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0612-6304
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.
2018 (English)In: Sign CAFÉ 1: The first international workshop on cognitive and functional explorations in sign language linguistics, 2018, p. 27-28Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In our paper, we describe the acquisition of classifier constructions of L2 learners of SSL. Previous studies show that learning a sign language, contributes a high degree of iconically motivated lexicon and enable L2 learners to gesturally imitate the tasks or events from stimulus in an elicited narrative task. However, despite of this “gestural advantage”, L2 learners have been reported to differ in the phonological structure of iconically motivated lexical signs (e.g. Ortega & Morgan, 2015). In addition, regarding the L2 acquisition of the classifier constructions, it has been shown that the location seems to be acquired before the handshape parameter (e.g. Marshall & Morgan, 2015). However, research on this area is limited, especially on authentic data, i.e. corpus-based studies on L2 acquisition. In our study, the use of classifier constructions by L2 learners at different developmental stages using SSL was investigated. The corpus consists of a set of longitudinal data of adult L2-learners’ signed production. In total, the corpus consists of 20:38 hours of data from 38 learners, along with a control cohort consisting of 9 L1 signers ( 01:22 hours). For this study, a sampled annotated data, consists of 05:55 hours of a video retelling of a movie clip “The plank” from 23 learners, at two phases i.e. six months after course onset (N=14), and 1.5 years after onset (N=9), was analyzed. Comparisons to an L1 cohort (9 fluent signers) was made. Specifically, three broad types of classifier constructions were analyzed: ENTITY (entity handshapes), HANDLE (handle handshapes), and DESCRIPTOR (size and shape descriptive handshapes) (c.f. Schembri, 2003). A total of 779 tokens were identified and analyzed. The results show that the L2 learners tend to differ in the use in comparison with the L1 signers. First, L1 signers use classifier constructions to a greater extent (Table 1). Second, there were some qualitative differences with the regard of use. For example, in respect of HANDLE, simultaneous use of two separate handshape units were more common in L1 signers. Concerning ENTITY, the handshapes were more identically used across the groups, apart fromthe handshape unit representing ‘human being’. The third type: DESCRIPTOR, was more identically used within the L1 group, whereas the use of handshapes and movements varied in the L2 group. The study assumes that this finding can be explained by the way L2 learners imitate task events in comparison to L1 signers. Implications for the acquisition of classifier constructions in terms of conventionalism and L2 acquisition will be discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. p. 27-28
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Sign Language
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164117OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164117DiVA, id: diva2:1278191
Conference
SignCAFÉ 1: The First International Workshop on Cognitive and Functional Explorations in Sign Language Linguistics, Birmingham, UK, July 30-31, 2018
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P16-0371:1Available from: 2019-01-13 Created: 2019-01-13 Last updated: 2019-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Mesch, JohannaSchönström, KristerLarsson, Ylva
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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