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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Sat Jul 1, 2000  2:00 pm
Subject:  Re: native speakers

On Sat, 1 Jul 2000, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:

> You are right - Irina is a competent signer (in fact the only one in
> our group ) - but there might be a little problem because her family
> is from Kasachstan and Im not informed about the influences ...

Yes, that's a very important bit of information! Her parents
probably speak Russian Sign Language, or a related language spoken in
Kazakhstan. So she's learning one language from her parents, and another
from you and from her classmates. This is normal bilingualism, and
bilingual kids are very good at sorting two languages out (eventually), so
her confusion shouldn't last long.

But unless she has a native DGS signer to learn from, her DGS
would probably not be very close to that signed by native signers whose
parents are native DGS signers. Judgments about "purity" aside, if she
doesn't have much contact with the DGS-signing Deaf community, she won't
learn to produce signs that represent the consensus of that community, and
therefore wouldn't be the best model for understanding DGS. (You agree,
right, Joe?)

I'd love to see some examples of the signed language used in
Kazakhstan! I just moved to New York City, and there may be some people
who use that language in the Russian parts of Brooklyn. Well, I'll file
that on my "to do" list...

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
The University of New Mexico

  Replies Author Date
3726 Re: native speakers Joe Martin Sun  7/2/2000
3727 Re: native speakers Angus B. Grieve-Smith Sun  7/2/2000
3729 Re: native speakers Joe Martin Sun  7/2/2000

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