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Volume Five: Issue One

ARTICLES
The Cultural Construction of Linguistic Incompetence through Schooling: Deaf Education and the Transformation of the Linguistic Environment in Bali, Indonesia
Jan Branson and Don Miller

Abstract

Classroom Discourse Practices of a Deaf Teacher Using American Sign Language
David Harry Smith and Claire L. Ramsey

Abstract

Sign Order in Argentine Sign Language
María Ignacia Massone and Mónica Curiel

Abstract

The Subsystem of Numerals in Catalan Sign Language: Description and Examples from a Psycholinguistic Study
Mariana Fuentes and Liliana Tolchinsky

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS

Melanie Metzger (ed.), Bilingualism & Identity in Deaf Communities (Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press)

Phyllis Perrin Wilcox

Ceil Lucas (ed.), Language and the Law in Deaf Communities (Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press)

Paul Siegel
ABSTRACTS
The Cultural Construction of Linguistic Incompetence through Schooling: Deaf Education and the Transformation of the Linguistic Environment in Bali, Indonesia

This article examines the impact of teaching strategies on the linguistic competence of students in a school for deaf pupils in Bali, Indonesia. In particular, the article examines the effect of the use of a signed version of Indonesian on the linguistic participation of students in their native communities. The school’s teaching strategies are based on Western models transferred to Indonesia via the training of Indonesian teachers in the West and the presence of Western experts in Indonesia. Indonesian education administrators have implemented this expertise without questioning its value and appropriateness. Moreover, proponents of nationalism have imposed the use of the national language, Indonesian, in education, regardless of the fact that Indonesian is rarely used in the villages that many deaf students return to. These factors exert a particularly forceful and disabling, symbolic violence on the school’s pupils.

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Classroom Discourse Practices of a Deaf Teacher Using American Sign Language

This article describes the classroom discourse practices of an experienced Deaf teacher using American Sign Language (ASL) as the medium of instruction in a fifth-grade classroom in a residential school. The teacher is a native ASL user who has been teaching for more than thirty-five years. The analysis of three lessons illustrates the use of ASL linguistic features to encourage student participation. In constructing a teaching style using ASL, the teacher also employs discourse practices common among skilled teachers, regardless of the medium of instruction, such as maintaining a moderate level of control and selectively modeling naïve questions. The teacher’s ASL fluency and teaching experience interact to yield an effective strategy for increasing student involvement. Implications for classroom practice and suggestions for further research are included.

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Sign Order in Argentine Sign Language

Word order is the way in which languages establish the relationship between a verb and its arguments. The world’s spoken languages have been classified into three major word orders: SOV, SVO, and VSO. As other word orders have also been identified, linguists have found it necessary to investigate and define the relevance of semantic (animate/inanimate, agent/patient) and pragmatic (topic/comment) notions in order to determine their relevance to the ordering of elements.

Different sign orders were tested in all of the possible combinations of noun and verb phrases and then verified in different text formats in order to classify the possible sign orders and analyze the influence of pragmatic and semantic notions. Deaf people from all over Argentina participated as informants. The intuition of native signers was also taken into consideration. The analysis of the corpus was completed with participant observation within the Deaf community and in different Deaf associations throughout Argentina. The canonical sign order in Argentine Sign Language was found to be SOV for sentences with transitive verbs and SV with intransitive ones. Sentences with modal verbs exhibit a different sign order. Variations of the canonical sign order occur according to various linguistic constraints and pragmatic purposes.

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The Subsystem of Numerals in Catalan Sign Language: Description and Examples from a Psycholinguistic Study

Linguistic descriptions of sign languages are essential to support their linguistic status and to preserve the cultural background of the Deaf communities that use and recreate them. We describe the subsystem of cardinal numbers in Catalan Sign Language (LSC) in the variety used in Barcelona. The description includes the parameters of handshape, orientation, location, direction, and movement.

We also illustrate, with some results from a psycholinguistic study, how LSC’s number features influence the transcoding behavior of deaf children learning the language. Most of the errors the students commit can be explained by overgeneralization of LSC’s number-system features.

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