New Research on Sign Language


Reynard Louis (Editor)

Series: Languages and Linguistics
BISAC: LAN017000

In this book, the authors present current research in the study of sign language. The opening paper concentrates on content structure in an example of formal Kenyan Sign Language discourse: a sermon. The main discussion point is grammatical cohesion, or “how content is structured through textual features that link episodes together in discourse.” The paper analyzes this through references, substitutions, ellipses, discourse markers, and conjunctions. The authors also discuss a study focusing on a computer-based adaptive test of American Sign Language ability known as the American Sign Language Discrimination Test developed at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

This test measures the propensity for discerning phonological and morphophonogical contrasts in American Sign Language. In this study, the American Sign Language Discrimination Test, or ASL-DT, item pool was expanded to enhance the efficiency of the test along a wider range of abilities, with the objective of offering supplementary evidence of the test’s legitimacy. Later, a study is presented on the impact of familiarity and the use of American Sign Language in deaf humans’ conversational behaviors in order to support the current research expressing difference in conversational register in response to different types of partners. Additionally, the research offers proof of linguistic aspects of American Sign Language that are similar to spoken languages. Lastly, a study is presented on the Direct Experience Method, a method of teaching sign language with visual support, in an effort to help teachers understand the benefits of using a small amounts of student’s native language in second language classrooms.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Establishing Grammatical Cohesion in Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) Formal Discourse: The Case of a Sermon Delivered in KSL
Jefwa G. Mweri, PhD (Senior Lecturer, Department of Kiswahili, Faculty of Arts, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya, and others)

Chapter 2. Method and Materials for a Computer-Based Test of Sign Language Ability: The American Sign Language Discrimination Test (ASL-DT)
Joseph Bochner, Wayne Garrison, Kim Kurz, Jason Listman, Vincent Samar, and Deirdre Schlehofer (National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA)

Chapter 3. The Effects of Conversational Partner Familiarity in Deaf Signers
Amanda C. Davis and Mary Lee A. Jensvold, PhD (Linfield College, McMinnville, OR, USA, and others)

Chapter 4. Using Written English in the American Sign Language Classroom
Jason Listman and Kalyna Sytch (National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA)


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