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From:  Joe Martin
Date:  Sun Jul 2, 2000  12:47 am
Subject:  Re: native speakers

This is a very good point. I would definitely want to know about this,
because, as you say, Irina's DGS signing can only be accepted as "native"
if she grew up with it as an L-1. (first language) That would mean that
between the ages of 1-5 she was surrounded by it as input.

Angus is definitely correct, she won't be a good model is she has no
contact with the DGS-signing community. Actually it is not likely that her
parents use Russian Sign Language; most people in Kazakstan speak
unrelated (Altaic) languages. But the third most comman language spoken
there is German. Since they moved to Germany, I wouldn't be suprised to
learn that their home language is DGS :-) ! That would make Irina's
signing pretty authentic. Of course, this is all just guessing--there is
no real reason to suppose that the signed language there bears any
realation to German, Kazakh, Russian or any other spoken language, it
might be different from DGS, or a dialect of it. The only way to find out
i think is to ask her parents. If they were using DGS around Irina as she
was growing up, then she is "native."

(*note: just because it is non-native doesn't mean there is anything wrong
with it!* See my next post)
Joe Martin, Plain Old Ordinary Student
Top Left Corner USA

On Sat, 1 Jul 2000, Angus B. Grieve-Smith wrote:

> 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
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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