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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Language and the Law in Deaf Communities

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table 2. Frequency of Appropriate Nonmanual Signals

 

Miranda Warning Interrogation

Beginner Signers/Interpreters’
Group Averages

   
Affirmation 0 0.33
Negation 0 1.33
Yes/No question 0 0
Wh- question 0 0.66
Conditionals 0 0
Listing 0 0
Topicalization 0 0
Comparative structure 0 0
Role shift 0 3.33
Totals 0 5.65

Intermediate Interpreters’ Group Averages

   
Affirmation 0.33 3.33
Negation 1 4.66
Yes/No question 0 8.66
Wh- question 0 2
Conditionals 1.33 0
Listing 0 0.33
Topicalization 0 0
Comparative structure 0 0
Role shift 0 38
Totals 1.66 56.98

Advanced Interpreters’ Group Averages

   
Affirmation 1.66 5
Negation 1.33 7
Yes/No question 0 10.66
Wh- question 0 9.33
Conditionals 2 0
Listing 1 0
Topicalization 0 2.33
Comparative structure 1 0
Role shift 0 41.66

Totals

6.99

75.98

The proposition without the conditional marking leads a defendant to believe that a determination has already been made of his or her indigent status and that the appointment of an attorney is in progress. In reality, an indigent Deaf defendant must assert his desire to speak with an attorney before such a process is initiated. But, unmarked for their conditional relationship, the propositions will lead the Deaf defendant to believe that he or she only need to wait quietly for an appointed attorney to appear.

The results here indicate striking differences in the linguistic output of interpreters based on skill level—both in terms of the number of lexical items and the number of nonmanual signals. I have suggested that the syntactic and lexical deficits in the signed outputs of the beginner and intermediate interpreters have a profound impact on comprehensibility.


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