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From:  MGirod & ACPrélaz
Date:  Wed Apr 10, 2002  7:02 pm
Subject:  Re: Questions from a linguist...

Dear Valerie, and other list members

I was very interested by the question from the linguist you shared with
us... These questions are the center of my project and I'm looking
forward to read the different answers.

One of my hypothesis is that sign language and more specifically the
development of language skills in sign language can help deaf children
acquiring a second language (for the deaf children I would be
french). There are different kind of studies, not specifically on SW but
on bilingualism who explain that point of view. There are some great
articles from Professor Fran ì× is Grosjean (university of Neuch I² el),
psycholinguist, on bilingualism and deafness. I send you these articles
if you're interested in reading them.

There are also other articles from Philip Prinz & Michael Strong who
studied the influence of sign language skills on english litteracy and
who seem to prove that deaf children with a good competence in sign
language have better result with writing and reading. For the one of you
who could be interested I give you the reference of the articles:

- "ASL Proficiency and English Litteracy within a bilingual deaf
education Model of instruction" Philip Prinz & Michael Strong; in:
Topics in language Disorders, 1998, 18 (4), 47-60

- "A study of the relationship between american Sign Language and
English Litteracy", Philip Prinz & Michael Strong, in Journal of Deaf
Studies and Deaf Education, 2:1 Winter 19997

The articles from Prinz and Strong focus on litteracy... and from that
point of view they give us very interesting informations.
I'm convinced Sign Language can help develop another language. Once the
child does master all the communication rules, the language uses, ... he
can much more easily access to a second language.

My hypothesis on SW is that it could give the deaf child new language
skills. Having to write down words, sentences, texts, having to
understand writing and its use (and reading as well)... makes it
possible for the child to think ON language (it's what I meant in a
previous message when I was talking of "metalinguistics")

The child who simply uses language as a communication tool... do not
have the same metalinguistic skills. That 's one of the reason why I'd
like to try using SW with deaf children... to put them in the situation
where they'll have to think about their sign language (They'll have to
analyse it's component to be able to write it down) and focus on
language itself. I'm sure improving their metalinguistic skills in sign
language will also influence these same skills in the second language.

Ok... I won't be long tonight as I need a good sleep. Hope to read lots
of different answers on this theme.

Bye for now


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