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Table of contents :
Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective
Sign language and spoken language development in young children: Measuring vocabulary by means of the CDI
The influence of social discourses concerning deafness on the interaction between hearing mothers and deaf infants: A comparative case study
The interpreter’s stance in intersubjective discourse
“You get that vibe”: A pragmatic analysis of clarification and communicative accommodation in legal video remote interpreting
(Deaf) Interpreters on television: Challenging power and responsibility
Sign language representation: New approaches to the study of Italian Sign Language (LIS)
Epistemological issues in the semiological model for the annotation of sign languages
A corpus-based approach to manual simultaneity
Expression of time in French Belgian Sign Language (LSFB)
Impersonal reference in Catalan Sign Language (LSC)
Morphosyntactic variation in American Sign Language: Genre effects on the usage of SELF
Methodological issues in studying sign language variation
Contributors
Index of sign languages
Subject index
Recommend Papers

Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices: Crossing Views on Theoretical and Applied Sign Language Linguistics
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Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices

Sign Languages and Deaf Communities 1 Editors Annika Herrmann Markus Steinbach Ulrike Zeshan Editorial board Carlo Geraci Rachel McKee Victoria Nyst Marianne Rossi Stumpf Felix Sze Sandra Wood

De Gruyter Mouton · Ishara Press

Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices Crossing Views on Theoretical and Applied Sign Language Linguistics By

Laurence Meurant Aure´lie Sinte Mieke Van Herreweghe Myriam Vermeerbergen

De Gruyter Mouton · Ishara Press

ISBN 978-1-61451-199-1 e-ISBN 978-1-61451-147-2 ISSN 2192-516X e-ISSN 2192-5178 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de. ” 2013 Walter de Gruyter, Inc., Boston/Berlin and Ishara Press, Nijmegen, The Netherlands Printing: Hubert & Co. GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen 앝 Printed on acid-free paper 앪 Printed in Germany www.degruyter.com

To Elena Pizzuto and Cyril Courtin

Contents

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective Laurence Meurant, Aurélie Sinte, Myriam Vermeerbergen and Mieke Van Herreweghe�������������������������������������������������������������������������� 1 Sign language and spoken language development in young children: Measuring vocabulary by means of the CDI Bencie Woll������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 The influence of social discourses concerning deafness on the interaction between hearing mothers and deaf infants: A comparative case study Kimberley Mouvet, Liesbeth Matthijs, Gerrit Loots, Martine Van Puyvelde, and Mieke Van Herreweghe����������������������������������� 35 The interpreter’s stance in intersubjective discourse Terry Janzen and Barbara Shaffer�������������������������������������������������������������� 63 “You get that vibe”: A pragmatic analysis of clarification and communicative accommodation in legal video remote interpreting Jemina Napier��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 85 (Deaf) Interpreters on television: Challenging power and responsibility Maartje De Meulder and Isabelle Heyerick��������������������������������������������� 111 Sign language representation: New approaches to the study of Italian Sign Language (LIS) Giulia Petitta, Alessio Di Renzo, Isabella Chiari, and Paolo Rossini������ 137 Epistemological issues in the semiological model for the annotation of sign languages Marie-Anne Sallandre and Brigitte Garcia���������������������������������������������� 159 A corpus-based approach to manual simultaneity Anna Sáfár and Onno Crasborn��������������������������������������������������������������� 179

Contents 

Expression of time in French Belgian Sign Language (LSFB) Aurélie Sinte���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 205 Impersonal reference in Catalan Sign Language (LSC) Gemma Barberà and Josep Quer������������������������������������������������������������� 237 Morphosyntactic variation in American Sign Language: Genre effects on the usage of SELF Erin Wilkinson������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 259 Methodological issues in studying sign language variation Ceil Lucas������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 258 Contributors���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 309 Index of sign languages............................................................................. 313 Subject index.............................................................................................. 314

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective Laurence Meurant, Aurélie Sinte, Mieke Van Herreweghe, and Myriam Vermeerbergen

1. Introduction The title of this book, Sign Language Research, Uses And Practices, wants to reflect both the fact that the papers included relate to sign language research on structure, uses and practices, and our belief that sign linguistics cannot be separated from Deaf community practices, including practices in education and interpretation. Furthermore, in our opinion, there is a (strong) relationship between the uses and practices of sign languages on the one hand, and sign language structure and research on the other hand. We will briefly explain what we mean by presenting some information related to Flemish Sign Language (Vlaamse Gebarentaal or VGT) and French Belgian Sign Language (Langue des signes de Belgique francophone or LSFB), the sign languages used in Belgium.1 2. The uses and practices of sign languages in Belgium and LSFB/ VGT-structure and research In Belgium, there have been important changes related to sign language uses and practices in the last decades. Some of these are sociolinguistic in nature, an important example being the official recognition of LSFB in 2003 and VGT in 2006 (Vermeerbergen and Van Herreweghe 2008), while some can be linked to values in general society about the education of children with a disability, including deaf children (Hardonk et al. 2011; Blume 2010). The policy of mainstreaming deaf children in regular schools results in changed “lines of transmission” (Ramsey 2009) with hearing sign language interpreters increasingly acting as sign language models (Van Herreweghe and Vermeerbergen 2004; Heyerick and Vermeerbergen 2012). Other changes are related to technological developments as diverse as the neonatal screening

2  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen for deafness, cochlear implantation for very young deaf infants and web and video communication development. Traditionally, VGT and LSFB were transmitted from (older) child to (younger) child at a school for the deaf. Most deaf children of hearing parents started to acquire VGT or LSFB when beginning (pre)school but because these languages were not used as the language of instruction in deaf education, they were most often acquired as a playground variety. In the past, many deaf children spent more time at school than they do today, since most of the schools were residential schools, and the schools for the deaf were a crucial lynchpin for the transmission of sign languages and a cradle of Deaf culture. Today, things have changed significantly: most pupils attending schools for the deaf go home in the evenings to their hearing families who often have a limited or no proficiency in VGT or LSFB. Moreover, today most deaf and partially deaf pupils are mainstreamed in regular education. In Wallonia, there has been a trend towards mainstreaming deaf children starting from the 1970s with very active campaining in the 1980s (Haesenne, personal communication, September 2012) and in 1983, when the provision of educational interpreting or, more frequently, the provision of communication support workers started, the majority of deaf children were integrated in hearing schools (Haesenne, Huvelle and Kerres 2008). In Flanders, the shift from deaf schools to mainstreaming in hearing schools seems to be a bit more recent, but since 2006, there are more Flemish deaf (and partially deaf) pupils in mainstream education than in special education (De Raeve and Lichtert 2010). An important number of the deaf mainstreamed pupils have very limited access to a sign language and consequently poor levels of VGT or LSFB proficiency. Some of them acquire their sign language primarily through their engagement with their educational interpreter. As pointed out by Heyerick and Vermeerbergen (2012): “For these deaf pupils the signed language interpreters will most certainly function as a linguistic model, especially when it comes to the lexicon in certain academic domains, e.g. mathematics, history, sciences, but most probably also in relation to less subject-specific lexical items and aspects of the grammar. That is, these students are acquiring VGT from interpreters, who are non-native signers with varying levels of VGT competence, in situations where these interpreters are interpreting.”

Today, 95% of the Flemish preschool population of deaf children are wearing one or two cochlear implants (De Raeve and Lichtert 2011) and it seems that especially in the case of early implanted deaf children, the use of a sign language at home is often discouraged. In Belgium, when there is an indication of a congenital hearing problem in an infant, parents are

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective  3

referred to a referral centre for further testing (Matthijs et al. 2012; Drion 2006). Some – not all – of these referral centres put forward the idea that cochlear implants and sign language do not go hand in hand (Mouvet et al. this volume). The idea seems to be that implanted deaf children (in hearing families) will not need a sign language as they grow up, and so parents are advised that there is no need to offer it to them. As the use of a sign language is discouraged in the home situation and the transition to mainstream education is encouraged, an important question to be raised today is that of where deaf children of hearing parents in Belgium can acquire VGT or LSFB. A totally different type of technological change is related to ICT and multimedia. Until recently, communication in a sign language was only possible between interlocutors who were at the same time at the same place. And this is believed to have a certain impact on the structure of sign languages, e.g. on the use of space for reference tracking and/or on gaze behavior (Pizzuto et al. 2008; Cuxac and Pizzuto 2010). Sign languages exist within and exploit the three spatial dimensions. More recently the advent of technology has made sign language communication between remote individuals possible. The increasing availability of affordable communication channels, together with readily available videoconferencing software, offers sign language users the possibility of remote communication. Belgian signers use the remote video facilities of Skype and ooVoo, among other possibilities, to communicate with each other in VGT and LSFB. They also video-record messages in their sign language to be sent to other signers who will watch the message at some later time. At the time of writing, i.e., in the summer of 2012, the CAB (the Flemish Sign Language interpreting agency), and Fevlado (the Flemish Deaf Association) are starting a 3 year experiment with sign language interpreting services provided through video remote facilities. All of this means that VGT and LSFB are being increasingly used for remote communication, almost always involving signers signing to a camera. As pointed out by Napier (2011: 176): “One of the challenges with using a 3D language via a video link is that the option to use 3D space is removed, and the language is portrayed in two dimensions. This may create challenges and result in possible miscommunications.” According to Napier, McKee and Goswell (2010) there is anecdotal evidence showing that the use of video remote facilities can impact on the sign language interpreting process in several ways, including limited options for interpreters to assess a deaf client’s language needs, less opportunity for interpreters to brief or consult with either party, difficulties of getting a deaf person’s attention if the interpreter is in a different location and the need to adapt the signing style to account for the two-dimensional medium. Simi-

4  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen larly, deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users adjust their use of ASL in direct deaf-to-deaf communication via videoconference to cope with the interference from video communication (Keating and Mirus 2003 in Napier 2011). From the limited number of studies available so far, it seems that there is indeed a technological impact on the production and comprehension of sign languages in remote communication. Whether this will also have an impact on the structure of sign languages remains to be seen. As a result of a combination of various changes, both within and outside the Deaf community, deaf people in Flanders and Wallonia are now engaged in a much broader range of contexts compared to 20 years ago. This is for example related to a wider access to tertiary education for sign language users. A growing number of Belgian signers hold academic degrees; in some cases these are (partly) obtained abroad and in “Deaf-related” subjects (Master in Deaf Studies, Master in Sign Linguistics). In Flanders, the implementation of educational sign language interpreting, especially in tertiary educational settings, but also in secondary schools, results in the fact that VGT is used to interpret classes in a wide range of subjects. In Wallonia, there is a bilingual education programme in which LSFB is used as the medium of instruction for all school subjects (see further). In general, VGT and LSFB signers are more actively involved in hearing society and more often use their sign language to communicate in that society. Obvious illustrations here are deaf politicians. And because Belgian signers are engaging in a much broader range of contexts, VGT and LSFB seem to be going through an accelerated development, involving for instance an exponential growth of the lexicon or the development of a formal/informal register-difference, but more research needs to shed light on these evolutions. It is clear that changing uses and practices related to VGT and LSFB bring with them a number of interesting and important research questions. For one, it would be very interesting to study whether and how these changes impact on the structure of the languages. If indeed the languages are changing, there may be a need for a re-evaluation of results from previous research projects. 3. The collaboration between sign language researchers and sign language practitioners Currently, sign linguistics in Belgium shows a dynamic collaboration between linguistic research and teaching/interpreting practices. A good example is the partnership between the Namur bilingual education programme and a team of sign language researchers at the University of Namur.

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective  5

In 2000, the École et Surdité association was founded with the aim of setting up a pilot project for bilingual education for the deaf in Namur (de Halleux and Thoua 2009). The purpose of this bilingual education programme is to integrate groups of deaf pupils within classes of hearing pupils in a mainstream school. The project aims to provide deaf children with the opportunity to acquire LSFB and (written) French in natural situations and to give them an education comparable to their hearing peers. The language of the curriculum is LSFB, i.e., all school subjects are taught through LSFB and all written support is in French. In addition to the regular school programme, deaf pupils take an LSFB course (two hours per week), taught by a deaf native signer. It is a daily challenge for the teachers to teach LSFB and to use LSFB for the courses, since it remains an understudied language and since its use as a medium of instruction for all school subjects is unprecedented. The status of LSFB in the school is not the same as that of LSFB in wider society: within the school, LSFB is not only the language of instruction, it is also the language of communication between adults and deaf pupils, between deaf and hearing colleagues and the language taught by a deaf native signer during the sign language classes. LSFB is used in a large variety of discourse types (such as narratives, descriptive discourse, explanatory and argumentative texts), in a large variety of contexts (monologues, dialogues, group interactions) and for a large variety of subjects (playground conversation and academic subjects). Therefore, in 2004, when the first deaf children in the programme moved from preprimary to primary school, a “research-action group” was set up at the University of Namur whose aim was to support the teaching team in the programme. The group was made up of the bilingual teaching team (which comprised three people in 2004, but today the team consists of twelve teachers), external deaf LSFB users, sign language interpreters and the LSFB researchers at the University of Namur. In the past 8 years, the teaching team has been happy to have been supported by the sign linguistics team at the University of Namur with linguistic resources and, vice versa, the researchers consider the bilingual classes as a privileged place giving rise to linguistic and applied linguistic questions and facilitating the testing of these (Meurant 2012). Overall, as sign language researchers, we feel it is important to be aware of the many changes sign languages and their users are currently experiencing and to take into account how these changes impact on our work. The twelve papers gathered into this volume contribute to the same effort and fulfil the same interest to anchor sign language research in the close observation of (changes in) sign language uses, practices and structure.

6  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen 4. Contents of the book The volume comes in the aftermath of an international conference on sign languages (CILS) held in Namur in November 2009. The goal of the conference was to “cross views” by bringing together researchers studying sign languages (linguists from different traditions, philosophers, educationalists, anthropologists, whether deaf or hearing) and sign language users and practitioners (deaf/hearing interpreters and deaf teachers). The conference programme included presentations related to actual research in sign linguistics, bilingualism, teaching by/for deaf people, sign language interpreting and anthropology and philosophy. The current volume reflects this variety in topics as it brings together papers on sign language uses and practices, including work in sign language interpreting, the use of spoken/sign language with deaf implanted children and early language development in children exposed to both a spoken and sign language, and reports on recent research on aspects of sign language structure. It also includes papers addressing methodological issues in sign language research. The first two papers deal with early language development and child directed speech/signing. Bencie Woll reports on studies of early language development in young deaf and hearing children exposed to both a spoken language and a sign language, within the context of bilingual language acquisition. The course of early sign language acquisition in terms of vocabulary as measured by the British Sign Language (BSL) adaptation of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) is described in detail for deaf children of hearing parents and deaf children of deaf parents, and compared to BSL data for hearing children of deaf parents. Additionally, data on English language development in deaf children with hearing parents exposed to both BSL and English are compared to norms for English language development in hearing children of hearing parents. The results show that there are significant differences between language development in deaf and hearing children, even in contexts where they are developing as native signers with deaf parents. These differences are probably related to the contexts in which young children learn to label referents and point to a need for intervention programmes for deaf children to address the task of building the attention-switching required for deaf children to learn vocabulary. Nevertheless, the study provides important data confirming the benefits of bilingualism. Although the deaf children in hearing families lag behind native signers in vocabulary development, early diagnosis appears to provide hearing parents with the opportunity to learn and use signing with their deaf children, and development of BSL is strongly correlated with development of

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective  7

English for these bilingual children. Kimberley Mouvet, Liesbeth Matthijs, Gerrit Loots, Martine Van Puyvelde and Mieke Van Herreweghe investigate how the narratives of two hearing mothers of a congenitally deaf child develop over time (from the end of the diagnostic process to the active utilization of bilateral cochlear implants) and how these influence the interaction between mother and child. They provide clear evidence that both mothers changed their behaviour towards their child after cochlear implantation: both women increased their use of monolingual Dutch in interaction with their child and one of them decreased the use of monolingual VGT. This clearly has consequences for the interaction and for the (bilingual) development of the child. The next three papers focus on interpretation, mainly from a ­pragmatic point of view. Terry Janzen and Barbara Shaffer maintain that the ­interpreter is as much a discourse participant as those they are interpreting for. In order to best represent the interaction of the primary participants, there is more to pay attention to than just the words and phrases that speakers use, and signs and phrases that signers use. The interpreter must recognize that as they (co)construct a meaning of the speaker’s text, they are building an ­intersubjective relationship with this person, and as they produce a target text they are once again building an intersubjective relationship with the ­recipient. Therefore it is very important for the interpreter to recognize the idea that the primary participants are doing the same with each other despite the fact that their discourse is mediated by an interpreter, and part of the interpreter’s task is to attempt to let that relationship develop unimpeded. In order to study this the authors look at subjectivity and intersubjectivity within the domain of ­interpretation, in particular focussing on contextualization and stance taking by examining modality and modals, topic constructions, and ­perspective-taking within verb constructions. The authors conclude that language use is often evaluative or persuasive in function, and stance-taking in the interpreter’s message contributes to the co-construction of meaning. Overall, awareness of these aspects of language use leads to a clearer understanding of how best to represent speakers’ texts. Jemina Napier studies pragmatic adjustments of the sign communication within situations of remote interpreting. She presents a study that investigates the effectiveness of sign language interpreting in courts in the state of New South Wales (NSW) Australia, through the courts’ in-house video conference facility, and shows that the video remote aspect of the legal proceedings has a pragmatic effect on the resources used by interpreters and deaf people in terms of clarification and accommodation. Maartje De Meulder and Isabelle Heyerick look at the emergence of Deaf interpreters and their traditional working domains,

8  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen i.e., in conventional settings or for certain consumers when a Hearing interpreter feels s/he cannot adequately do the job. However, they argue that interpreting on television could also be considered a “Deaf job”, based on nine different dimensions. They illustrate this by means of a case study containing recent developments in Flanders, Belgium concerning in-vision interpreting. The analysis of the case study, based on direct observation and informal conversations, document analysis and analysis of recorded performances of interpreter applicants and motivational interviews, shows that there are some important future challenges, some of which are caused by the attitude of both Hearing and Deaf interpreters, others by lack of awareness in the Deaf community and still other issues because of the views and unawareness of broadcasters. They conclude that four challenges need to be tackled: training and professionalization, awareness about the interpreting process, sense of power and responsibility, and research. The following three papers address issues on methodology in sign language research, with a special focus on representation and/or annotation. Giulia Petitta, Alessio Di Renzo, Isabella Chiari and Paolo Rossini focus on the issue of the representation of sign languages. For their description and analysis of Italian Sign Language, the authors have established a tradition of transcription by means of SignWriting since it provides new ways of looking at sign language structures and discourse. After having looked at inter-annotator agreement between three annotators transcribing the same fragment in Italian Sign Language, the authors claim that major descriptive advantages of SignWriting as an annotation system are linked to the representation of non-manual components of signed discourse, to the notation of variability of signs and to the possibility of discussing the theoretical problems of segmentation and identification of the units of analysis using a fairly neutral system. A further strength lies in its independence and autonomy from vocal languages. Marie-Anne Sallandre and Brigitte Garcia claim that the principle of resorting to “gloss-based notations” using “vocal” language words is fundamentally flawed. Historically speaking, making use of a procedure based on a written version of a spoken language can easily be explained by the absence of a system of transcription per se that is capable of graphically reconstructing the meaningful form of discourse in a sign language. However, applying gloss annotations to a corpus of French Sign Language data within the non-assimilationalist semiological model of sign language description (as initiated by Christian Cuxac) proves extremely problematical since there is a significant underestimation of important parts of sign language discourse in the description. Indeed, different types of “transfer units” (roughly corresponding to size and shape specifiers, classifier construc-

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective  9

tions and constructed action) cannot be fully represented in a gloss notation. Besides their high rate of frequency, they are also frequently combined with “lexematic units”, resulting in complex compositions which are very hard to transcribe. Therefore it would be very useful to have a means of notation that enables researchers to consistently record the meaning-form components of these transfer units. Although the authors have to admit that in annotating their corpora they are at a stage that is still experimental, they also conclude that promising avenues of research have already opened up. Anna Sáfár and Onno Crasborn’s paper aims to develop criteria for a reliable and efficient data selection to determine manual spreading. In a first annotation pass their aim was to select instances of manual spreading and classify them as salient (likely to have morphosyntactic or discourse functions) or non-salient (purely prosodic). The proposed method was tested by annotating about one hour of signing from the Corpus NGT. The results indicate that while it is often challenging to identify spreadings (due to the difficulty of interpreting certain handshapes as signs), once a spreading has been identified, the judgement of whether it is salient can be reliably made based on their criteria. Two-handed signs may give rise to both salient and non-salient spreadings, but spreadings from one-handed signs are always judged as salient, due to the fact that saliency is in part defined by the presence of dominance reversal. The authors conclude tentatively that the criteria proposed for selecting cases of manual spreading that are likely to have morphosyntactic or discourse functions are both reliable and valid. Three papers are devoted to the structure of one particular sign language or to the sociolinguistic variation within one language. Aurélie Sinte’s research concerns the expression of time in French Belgian Sign Language (LSFB). Eventhough well-known use of time lines has generally been accepted for many sign languages, they still leave a lot of questions unresolved with respect to spontaneous LSFB data. Analyses were done on a mixed corpus of monologic narratives and conversations. The author focused on eyegaze behaviour (directed at the interlocutor or directed at the hands) in two different structures found in the corpus, i.e., the semantic repetition of a period or moment in an embraciating construction (A-B-A) and the use of buoys functioning as anchors by comparison to which new temporal points are situated. The author concludes that the anchoring of a reference point depends on where the gaze is oriented to when the hand(s) articulate(s) temporal signs or maintain(s) pointer buoys. When the point of reference is the time of utterance, the eye gaze is oriented to the addressee while the hands articulate the temporal sign. When the reference is linked to a point defined in the discourse which is not concomitant with the time of speaking, the eyegaze is briefly cut

10  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen off from the addressee and oriented towards the hands or towards the hand which is signing the new temporal information. The results clearly show that the former descriptions of the system of time lines do not provide all the elements involved in temporal marking and that more refined analyses are called for. Gemma Barberà and Josep Quer focus on the kind of predications where one of the arguments (typically the subject) is labelled as impersonal because of its low referentiality and a first characterization of such predications in Catalan Sign Language (llengua de signes catalana, LSC) is offered. Such cases are often referred to as arbitrary interpretations, whether they are overtly marked for it or not. This first exploration proves that impersonal reference in a sign language is a very rich domain, where the expression of (non-)specificity through spatial contrasting locations, overt and covert pronominal forms and role shift interact in order to convey arbitrary interpretations for arguments. Although some elements like role shift might look modality-specific, the overall picture that emerges according to the authors is that the resources put to work by LSC in this domain rely on the same basic ingredients that have been identified for a range of spoken languages. Erin Wilkinson inquires whether there is morphosyntactic variation in American Sign Language driven by sociolinguistic factors, by investigating the usage of SELF in ASL in Canada and the United States. The data for this study is drawn from 32 hours of naturalistic ASL discourse consisting of monologues (i.e., presentations and vlogs), 2-person conversations, and narratives. Findings showed that there were effects of region and genre that contributed to morphosyntactic variation in ASL with respect to the three forms of SELF. Regional variation (Canada versus the United States) was anticipated, but genre also clearly influenced the use of SELF forms, mainly due to differences of SELF production in vlogs and presentations. While both presentations and vlogs are similar in nature, there are slight differences between these two sub-types that may affect ASL discourse. Technology appears to shape how discourse space is defined in terms of the physical and perceived realm of the camera depending on whether it is a video camera or a webcam. Also, the presence and/or lack of discourse interlocutors appear to play a role in ASL discourse of presentations and vlogs respectively. This had its effect on the use of SELF-forms. Therefore the author maintains that future studies of ASL grammatical morphemes should be explored in a variety of genres and controlled by sociolinguistic variation.

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective 11

This sociolinguistic approach of ASL is followed by a paper by Ceil Lucas on methodological issues in studying sign language variation. Given the need for filmed data and the lack of anonymity that comes with this filming, the methods for studying variation in sign languages present issues not seen in spoken language studies. These issues pertain to 1) data collection, including the characteristics of the researcher, the methods of recruiting and selecting subjects, and the role of contact people in the community,  2) defining the variables and constraints to be analyzed, 3) data reduction, including decisions about whether to gloss or transcribe the data phonetically, 4) dissemination of the findings, which includes taking into consideration the audience to which the findings will be disseminated – for example, deaf audiences vs. hearing, non-signing audiences – and the effect of the findings on the audience, and 5) giving back to the community in some meaningful way, in the form of instruction and/or materials. Looking back on the editing process of this book we are very happy to be able to present papers by “more seasoned” researchers on the one hand and “new kids on the block” on the other, and papers with a collaboration between the two. We hope that the reader will enjoy reading their contributions as much as we have done. Notes 1.

In a recent past, people were usually signing, talking and writing about one Belgian Sign Language with regional varieties both in the North and the South of the country. However, because of the Belgian federalization process, in the 1970s the national Deaf federation, NAVEKADOS, was divided up into Fevlado (Federatie van Vlaamse Dovenorganisaties, or the Flemish Deaf Association) and the Fédération Francophone des Sourds de Belgique (FFSB). As a result, cultural activities have been organized separately since the seventies, so that contacts between Flemish and Walloon deaf people have become less and less frequent. This separation has had an effect on the development of the sign languages in both communities. This is why today, the sign language used in the northern part of Belgium is called Flemish Sign Language and the sign language used in the southern part is called Langue des signes de Belgique francophone (LSFB) (Van Herreweghe and Vermeerbergen 2009).

12  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen Acknowledgement

The editors are grateful to Sílvia Gabarró López and to Aurore Paligot, both PhD students at the University of Namur, for their help in building the index of this volume. References Blume, Stuart 2010

The Artificial Ear: Cochlear Implants and the Culture of Deafness New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Cuxac, Christian, and Elena Pizzuto 2010 Emergence, norme et variation dans les langues des signes: vers une redéfinition conceptuelle. In Sourds et Langue des Signes. Norme et Variations, Brigitte Garcia, and Marc Derycke (eds.), 37–53. (Langage et Société 131). Paris: Les Editions de la Maison de Sciences de l’Homme. de Halleux, Claire, and Yvette Thoua 2009 École et surdité: des classes bilingues intégrées. In Dans les Coulisses d'un Enseignement Bilingue (Langue des Signes Français) à Namur. Le groupe de Réflexion sur la LSFB Laurence Meurant and Marie Zegers de Beyl (eds), 17–25. Namur: Presses Universitaires de Namur. De Raeve, Leo, and Guido Lichtert 2010 De populatie slechthorende en dove kinderen in Vlaanderen anno 2010: invloed van de vroege gehoorscreening en vroege cochleaire implantatie op onderwijs en zorg. Logopedie 23(6): 15–25. De Raeve, Leo, and Guido Lichtert 2011 The influence of 12 years of universal hearing screening and early implantation on the educational setting and support of deaf children in Flanders (Belgium). International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 75 (supplement 1): 71. Drion, Benoît 2006 La traversée du miroir. In Ethique et implant cochléaire. Que Faut-il Réparer? Jean Giot and Laurence Meurant (eds.), (Transhumances 7): 21–36.

Sign language research, uses and practices: A Belgian perspective  13 Haesenne,Thierry, Damien Huvelle, and Patricia Kerres 2008 One step forward, two steps back. Toward a new signed language interpreter training programme in French-speaking Belgium. In The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter 2 (2):177–196. Hardonk, Stefan, Greetje Desnerck, Gerrit Loots, Geert Van Hove, Erwin Van Kerschaver, Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir, Christophe Vanroelen, and Fred Louckx 2011 Congenitally deaf children's care trajectories in the context of universal neonatal hearing screening: A qualitative study of the parental experiences. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 16(3): 305–324. Heyerick, Isabelle, and Myriam Vermeerbergen 2012 Sign language interpreting in educational settings in Flanders, Belgium. In Working with the Deaf Community: Education, Mental Health and Interpreting, Lorraine Leeson and Myriam Vermeerbergen (eds.), Dublin: Interesource Group (Ireland) Limited. Keating, Elizabeth, and Gene Mirus 2003 American Sign Language in virtual space: Interactions between deaf users of computer-mediated video communication and the impact of technology on language practices. Language in Society 32: 693–714. Matthijs, Liesbeth, Gerrit Loots, Kimberley Mouvet, Mieke Van Herreweghe, Stefan Hardonk, Geert Van Hove, Martine Van Puyvelde, and Greg Leigh 2012 First Information Parents Receive After UNHS Detection of Their Baby's Hearing Loss. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 17(4): 387-401, doi: 10.1093/deafed/ens020. Meurant, Laurence 2012 In search of the ideal partnership between sign linguistics research and a bilingual teaching project: The case of Namur, Belgium. In Working with the Deaf Community: Education, Mental Health and Interpreting, Lorraine Leeson and Myriam Vermeerbergen (eds.), Dublin: Interesource Group (Ireland) Limited. Mouvet, Kimberley, Liesbeth Matthijs, Gerrit Loots, and Mieke Van Herreweghe 2013 The influence of social discourses concerning deafness on the interaction between hearing mothers and deaf infants: A comparative case study. In Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices, Laurence Meurant, Aurélie Sinte, Mieke Van Herreweghe, and Myriam Vermeerbergen (eds.), Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter (i.e. the current volume).

14  L. Meurant, A. Sinte, M. Van Herreweghe, and M. Vermeerbergen Napier, Jemina 2011

Here or there? An assessment of video remote signed language interpreter- mediated interaction in court. In Videoconference and remote interpreting in criminal proceedings, Sabine Braun and Judith L.Taylor (eds.), 145–185. Guildford: University of Surrey. Pizzuto, Elena, Paolo Rossini, Marie-Anne Sallandre, and Erin Wilkinson 2008 Deixis, anaphora and Highly Iconic Structures: Cross-linguistic evidence on American (ASL), French (LSF) and Italian (LIS) signed languages. In Sign Languages: Spinning and Unraveling the Past, Present and Future. TISLR 9, Ronice Müller de Quadros (ed.), 475–495. Pétropolis: Editora Arara Azul. Ramsay, Claire 2009 Lines of transmission and access to social networks: Documentation of Lengua de Señas Mexicana (LSM). Paper presented at the Sign Language Corpora: Linguistic Issues Workshop, London, 24–25 July 2009. Van Herreweghe, Mieke, and Myriam Vermeerbergen 2004 Flemish Sign Language: some risks of codification. In To the Lexicon and Beyond. Sociolinguistics in European Deaf Communities, Mieke Van Herreweghe and Myriam Vermeerbergen (eds.), 111–137. Washington: Gallaudet University Press. 2009 Flemish Sign Language standardisation. Current Issues in Language Planning, 10(3): 308–326. Vermeerbergen, Myriam and Mieke Van Herreweghe 2008 De status van de Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Van ondergronds bestaan tot culturele erkenning. In Wat (Geweest/Gewenst) Is. Organisaties van en voor Doven in Vlaanderen Bevraagd over 10 Thema’s, Myriam Vermeerbergen and Mieke Van Herreweghe (eds.), 1–25. Gent: Academia Press / Fevlado-Diversus.

Sign language and spoken language development in young children: Measuring vocabulary by means of the CDI Bencie Woll

1. Summary This paper reports on studies of early language development in young deaf and hearing children exposed to both a spoken language and a sign language, within the context of bilingualism and bilingual language acquisition more generally. The course of early sign language acquisition in terms of vocabulary as measured by the British Sign Language (BSL) adaptation of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory is described in detail for deaf children of hearing parents and deaf children of deaf parents, and compared to BSL data for hearing children of deaf parents. Additionally, data on English language development in deaf children with hearing parents exposed to both BSL and English will be compared to norms for English language development in hearing children of hearing parents. The implications of the findings will be discussed in relation to children’s differing language experiences and to early diagnosis and intervention for language development in the deaf population. 2. Introduction Bilingualism is the norm for most of the world’s population. In view of the variety of experiences of acquisition and variation in levels of competence, Grosjean (1982) defines bilingualism as the regular use of more than one language in everyday life. Using this definition of bilingualism, Deaf communities can be recognised as bilingual, with most members of Deaf communities using the community’s sign language and the spoken/written language of the larger hearing society, although individuals vary in their fluency in the two languages. Since bilingualism in Deaf communities involves two languages of different modalities of expression, this type of bilingualism is

16  Bencie Woll commonly referred to as bimodal bilingualism, sign bilingualism, or crossmodal bilingualism, in contrast to the usual unimodal bilingualism in two spoken languages. For individuals, linguistic profiles can range from native fluency in one or both languages to delayed, partial, or even only rudimentary skills. The reasons for this variation relate to such diverse factors as the age at which hearing loss occurred, the degree of deafness, the age of exposure to the respective languages, the hearing status of the parents and their family language policy, schooling, and social networks (Grosjean 2008; van den Bogaerde and Baker 2002). It is important to note in this context that deaf individuals have only recently been seen as bilingual (Grosjean 2008) following the recognition of sign languages as natural human languages from the 1960s onwards. However, questions concerning the use of sign languages and spoken/written languages in the education of deaf children, and the relationship of signing to the development of spoken language have preoccupied professionals and scholars for several centuries (Bagga-Gupta 2004). Beyond controversy over approaches to communication within education, the establishment of deaf schools has been of critical importance in the development of Deaf communities and their sign languages (Ladd 2003). Bilingual development of deaf children occurs in two unusual contexts that determine the accessibility and use of sign language and spoken language, namely, (i) the unequal status of the languages at the level of parent-child transmission (more than 90 % of deaf children are born to hearing, nonsigning parents) and (ii) the unequal accessibility of the languages (limited access to the speech signal). From a linguistic perspective, the spectrum of communication approaches used with deaf children ranges from strictly monolingual (oralist) to cross-modal bilingualism, with a variety of mixing of the two languages. This can be the natural outcome of bilingualism in adult input (for example deaf parents who know both a spoken language and sign language). One major issue concerns the interaction of the two languages in their acquisition, especially in a context where bilingual approaches to early intervention with deaf children are under threat (Knoors and Marschark 2012). 3. Bilingual learners There are relatively few longitudinal studies of cross-modal bilingualism (Petitto et al. 2001; Petitto and Holowka 2002; Baker and van den Bogaerde 2008) in either deaf or hearing children exposed to a sign language and a

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 17

spoken language. The specific circumstances that determine exposure and access to spoken languages and sign languages in deaf children raise a number of issues. Age of exposure to sign language is a critical issue for the large majority of deaf children born to non-signing hearing or deaf parents. Whether they acquire sign language successfully depends on such factors as parents’ choices about language, medical advice – specifically in relation to cochlear implantation - and early intervention. Over recent years, several hypotheses have been put forward with respect to positive and negative effects of cross-modal language interaction in cross-modal bilingual development. In research on bilingualism in two spoken languages, this is usually expressed as a facilitating vs. a delaying effect in the learning of target language properties (Odlin 2003). A variety of terminology is found in the literature, including that concerned with crossmodal bilingualism, to refer to different types of interaction between two or more languages in the course of bilingual development, such as “language transfer”, “linguistic interference”, “cross-linguistic influence”, “codemixing”, and “linguistic interdependence”. Studies of language contact phenomena in interactions among adult bilinguals, including bilingual signers, and in the productions of bilingual learners, have shown that language mixing is closely tied to the organisation of language on the one hand, and to the functional and sociolinguistic dimensions of language use on the other hand (Grosjean 1982, 2008), with a general consensus that bilingual users, including bilingual learners, exploit their linguistic resources in both languages. Following a long debate about separation or fusion of languages in early bilingual acquisition (Meisel 2004), there is a consensus that both languages develop separately from early on, although it is clear that for unimodal spoken language bilingualism, language mixing in young bilinguals occurs during the course of bilingual development (Genesee 2002; Hulk and Müller 2000). This is also found in studies of cross-modal acquisition of sign language and spoken language in hearing children (Petitto et al. 2001; Petitto and Holowka 2002) and deaf children in deaf families (van den Bogaerde and Baker 2002). In the remainder of this paper we will discuss language acquisition in children acquiring BSL and English. BSL is the language of the British Deaf community (Sutton-Spence and Woll 1999). As discussed above, research on sign language acquisition among native signers has drawn parallels with hearing children exposed to a spoken language in terms of ages and stages of development (Morgan and Woll 2002; Schick 2003). However, under 10% of deaf children have deaf parents (Mitchell and Karchmer 2004) and can therefore be considered to be native users of the language. The majority of

18  Bencie Woll deaf children are not native signers; sign language exposure may be late and inconsistent from hearing parents and professionals with often poorly developed sign language skills (Herman 1998). The present study starts from the creation of norms for vocabulary development among native signers. Developing norms for this group is a necessary first step towards developing assessments for non-native signing children. Section 4 provides an overview of the assessment of sign language development. Section 5 describes the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory for BSL (BSL-CDI) and normed data for native signing deaf and hearing children, together with a comparison of BSL development using the CDI with norms for British monolingual hearing children acquiring English as a first language; in Section 6 possible reasons for differences in the norms for these three groups are discussed. Section 7 presents data on the development of BSL and English using the CDI for deaf children from hearing families, and Section 8 discusses implications from these series of studies for intervention programmes for young deaf children. 4. Assessing deaf children’s language development While a variety of tests are used to assess developmental outcomes in speech and hearing in young deaf children, (e.g. the Listening Progress Profile, Nikolopolous, Wells, and Archbold 2000; TAIT Analysis, Tait 1993), few assessments exist for deaf children who are sign language users and even fewer for signers below the age of 3 years (see Haug and Mann 2008, for a review of sign language assessment tools). Standardised assessments of deaf children’s early sign language acquisition are needed in order to evaluate children’s communication skills in sign against normative developmental milestones. However, developing appropriate assessment tools and deriving deaf norms presents many challenges. Firstly, compared to the volume of work on the acquisition of spoken languages, there is very little research on sign language development and much is based on small subject numbers (see Schick, Marschark and Spencer 2006, for an overview). In view of the wide variations in development typically exhibited by young children in the general population, there is a need to investigate the extent of this variability for sign languages and to confirm existing findings on larger numbers of children. Secondly, sign language acquisition research is often based on deaf and hearing children in deaf signing families, since both grow up to be native signers. However, Herman and Roy (2006) question whether these should be

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 19

considered equivalent in terms of language acquisition. Hearing children in deaf families are likely to be bilingual from an early age, whereas for deaf children, bilingualism is much more variable. Thirdly, the generalisability of findings from sign language acquisition research is an issue. We referred above to the small numbers of cases that have been studied. In addition, most research is based on children acquiring American Sign Language (ASL) (e.g. Mayberry and Squires’ (2006) review of research in this area refers mostly to ASL studies). Although there are some parallels in the acquisition of BSL and ASL, for historical reasons the similarities between these languages are fewer than would be expected when considering the spoken language shared by these countries. Therefore, findings from ASL cannot automatically be generalised to BSL. Fourthly, measurements for sign language development are essential if we are to monitor deaf children’s progress in language as a basis for designing appropriate interventions both for families and within formal education. Of the limited research into BSL acquisition, most studies have focused on the acquisition of grammatical features in children beyond 3 years of age (e.g. Herman and Roy 2006; Morgan 2006). Fewer studies have looked at deaf children below this age and the current studies reported here are the first to document vocabulary development in BSL. 5. The CDI The current paper presents findings of an adaptation and standardisation of the MacArthur-Bates CDI (Fenson et al. 1994) for BSL. The CDI are psychometrically robust parent report tools that assess early child language (see http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/cdi/). Two standardised scales exist for English: the Infant Form (Words and Gestures, CDI-WG) for 8-16 month olds and the Toddler Form (Words and Sentences, CDI-WS) for 16-30 month olds. All CDIs require parents to indicate receptive and expressive vocabulary by ticking items from lists of words grouped into categories such as “animals”, “toys” and “actions”. Psychometric properties of the CDI, including internal reliability and concurrent validity, were calculated for the original American English CDI (Fenson et al. 1994: 67–76). The CDI have been found to be sensitive to age and gender (ibid), indeed there are separate norms for boys and girls. The CDI have been translated into around 60 languages, as diverse as Albanian, Arabic, Basque, Bengali, Cantonese, Chichewa, Korean, Malay, Maltese, Sami and Yiddish, and are widely used in educational and clinical settings

20  Bencie Woll (see Law and Roy 2008, for a recent review). Anderson and Reilly (2002) developed an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the CDI. The authors observed few differences between the course of acquisition of spoken English in hearing children and ASL in deaf children from deaf families. Although there was evidence of greater expressive vocabulary in deaf children younger than 18 months, by the age of 24 months, vocabulary size was the same in both languages. The CDI, at least beyond the youngest age groups, are intended to be samples of current vocabulary, not exhaustive checklists. Nevertheless, it is important to establish that vocabulary pools identified for hearing samples are appropriate for use in a signed version. Prezbindowski and Lederberg (2003) discuss the use of the ASL CDI with deaf children. They note that numbers of items differ: 537 in the ASL and 680 in the American English version, with an overlap of 462 items. One area of difference was the category of animal sounds which was removed from the ASL version and replaced by items relating to Deaf culture. 5.1. Developing BSL norms for the CDI Normative data for spoken languages is generally collected on large numbers of native users. Fenson et al. (2000) used 1130 children for the Toddler Form and 569 children for the Infant Form of the CDI. When developing sign language norms, large numbers of native signers are simply not available. One solution is to collect repeated datasets on the same group of children. Anderson and Reilly (2002) adopted this approach when developing the ASL version. They recruited 69 deaf children of deaf parents and 34 participants were tested longitudinally, yielding 110 datasets. The BSL study followed the same strategy (see Woolfe et al. 2010 for full details). As with ASL, a single questionnaire was created (rather than two separate Infant and Toddler forms). 5.2. Participants Deaf and hearing native signing children aged from 8-36 months were recruited across the UK. The final sample comprised 29 deaf children and 33 hearing children, and the use of repeated datasets yielded 146 data sets, and 153 data sets respectively. As in the original CDI, the questionnaire asks parents to report on comprehension and production for each item. Since the

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 21

questionnaire is in English, a website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/HCS/research/ EBSLD/ was created with video clips of signed examples of each vocabulary item, together with instructions in BSL for completing the questionnaire. The pattern of results was very similar to the CDI English language versions (Fenson et al. 1994). Like hearing parents, the deaf parents in our sample reported data that showed age-related changes in their children’s sign language. The BSL data yielded a smooth upward growth curve for early vocabulary development (Woolfe et al. 2010 and Figures 2a and 2b below). Likewise, one of the most striking findings was the wide variability in children’s reported vocabularies at initial assessment and across the course of development. This was particularly marked in the younger age groups where the standard deviations exceeded the mean scores. Figure 1 plots the individual developmental trajectories, and the wide variation in BSL development in native signers can be seen, comparable to that found in hearing children acquiring a spoken first language.

Figure 1. Individual for BSL production Figure 1.  Itrajectories ndividual trajectories  

  BSL production

for

 

As expected, children’s receptive vocabulary consistently outpaced their expressive vocabulary. The individual developmental trajectories revealed a small proportion (7%) of the sample with slow BSL development, of whom 2 cases achieved scores below the 10th percentile. Figure 2a indicates the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles for comprehension by deaf native signers across 7 age bands (8-11m, 12-15m, 16-19m, 20-23m, 24-27m, 28-31m, and 32-36m) and Figure 2b the percentiles for BSL production.

NumberNumber of signsof understood signs understood

22  Bencie 600Woll 500 600 400 500

90

300 400

75 90 50 75 25

200 300 100 200 0 100 0

50 10 25 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28 29-31 32-34 35-36

10

Age in months 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28 29-31 32-34 35-36

Age in months in deaf native signing children Figure 2a Percentiles for BSL comprehension

Figure 2a  ercentiles for in deaf native signing children Figure 2a P Percentiles forBSL BSLcomprehension comprehension in deaf native signing children 600

NumberNumber of signsof signs

500 600 400 500

90

300 400

75 90 50 75 25

200 300 100 200 0 100 0

50 10 25 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28 29-31 32-34 35-36

10

Age in months 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28 29-31 32-34 35-36

Figure. 2b 2b Percentiles Percentiles for production deaf native signing children Figure for BSL BSLAge production deaf native signing children in monthsinin

Figure 2b Percentiles for BSL production in deaf native signing children 6. Deaf and hearing children compared

Although it had been originally intended to combine data from hearing and deaf native signing children, evidence from other research suggested that these two groups receive different input, even in sign language, and might

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 23

therefore differ in language development. The most comprehensive series of studies of input provided by deaf mothers to their children are those undertaken by van den Bogaerde and Baker with deaf families in the Netherlands. In one of their studies (van den Bogaerde and Baker 2002), they analysed the differences between input to deaf children and input to hearing children. One marked difference was that the deaf mothers of hearing children voiced nearly 100% of the words they produced; voicing was much more variable with deaf children. There was also much more code-blending – the mixing within sentences of elements from both languages – with hearing children. When we compared the BSL development of deaf and hearing children of deaf parents we found differences in their BSL development. We of course do not have data on the English language development of the hearing children of deaf parents, since it is impossible to ask for a parental report on English comprehension and production. However, in light of the likely greater input of English to hearing children than to deaf children by deaf parents, it is instructive to compare the data we have for BSL development in these children with English development in hearing children with hearing parents. Figures 3a and 3b provide data for the three groups (English language data is taken from Hamilton et al. 2000; BSL data from Woolfe et al. 2010). Although there are similar patterns of development, there are differences between the groups. 300

Comprehension

250 200

British English-CDI

150

BSL-CDI deaf native signers

100

BSL-CDI hearing native signers

50 0 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28

Figure 3a  English comprehension scores for hearing children of hearing parents (upper line) using British English CDI); BSL comprehension scores for h­ earing Figure 3achildren Englishofcomprehension scores hearing children of hearing parents using deaf parents (middle line)for using BSL CDI; BSL comprehension British English CDI;ofBSL comprehension scores scores for deaf children deaf parents (lower line) using for BSLhearing CDI children of deaf

parents using BSL-CDI; BSL comprehension scores for deaf children of deaf parents using BSL-CDI

250

Figure 3a English comprehension scores for hearing children of hearing parents using British English CDI; BSL comprehension scores for hearing children of deaf parents using BSL-CDI; BSL comprehension scores for deaf children of deaf parents using BSL-CDI 24  Bencie Woll 250

Production

200 British English-CDI

150

BSL-CDI hearing native signers

100

BSL-CDI deaf native signers

50 0 8-10 11-13 14-16 17-19 20-22 23-25 26-28

Figure 3b  English production scores for hearing children of hearing parents using British English CDI; BSL production scores for hearing children of parents using BSL-CDI; BSL production scores deaf children Figure 3b deaf English production scores for hearing children of for hearing parents using Britis ofEnglish deaf parents using BSL-CDI CDI; BSL production scores for hearing children of deaf parents usin

BSL-CDI; BSL production scores for deaf children of deaf parents using BSL There are significant differences between the reported comprehension CDI scores for the three groups of children, with the two hearing groups reported to understand more words or signs than the deaf group. While it may be assumed that monolingual children have higher receptive vocabulary in their one language than bilingual children have in either of their two languages, this does not account for why the hearing children of deaf parents comprehend more signs than the deaf children of deaf parents. There are smaller differences between the three groups in production, although the differences are significant between 20 months and 26 months. The higher mean scores for vocabulary – whether in BSL or in English – in hearing children may be the result of differences in their experience of language learning compared to that of deaf children. The data may reflect the fact that both hearing children of hearing parents and hearing children of deaf parents have the advantage of being able to look at a referent while hearing their parents name it, while deaf children must learn to alternate their attention between the adult (to see the sign) and the referent (to find out what the sign means). This alternation of attention may take time to achieve and may thus explain the slower rate of development for the deaf children.

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 25

7. Deaf children in hearing families Since 2000, Britain has had universal neonatal hearing screening. As a result the median age of identification of deafness and enrolment in intervention programmes is now 10 weeks of age. Following this dramatic change in experiences of deaf children and their families, Positive Support in the Lives of Deaf Children and their Families, a collaborative project between the University of Manchester and the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London and funded by the Big Lottery Fund (http://www.positivesuppport.info) undertook parent-led monitoring of key outcomes for deaf children in the first years of life, relating these to type and extent of specific interventions, such as audiological services, pre-school educational services, and speech and language therapy (Bamford et al. 2009). Outcomes measured included language, communication, social behaviour, family functioning, and motor and physical development. All data were collected by means of questionnaires completed by the parents or by professionals working with the families. The language outcome measures comprised two CDIs: English (Hamilton, Plunkett, and Schafer 2000) and the BSL CDI (Woolfe et al. 2010). The project collected data from 72 deaf children with hearing parents. Parents were all native speakers of English and had no experience of BSL use before the birth of their deaf child. All parents enrolled in the project received a letter with two questionnaires enclosed (the British English CDI and the BSL CDI), inviting them to complete either or both, depending on what language or languages their child was acquiring. The standard CDI procedure was followed: for both checklists, parents were asked to indicate if their child comprehended and/or produced each item. As for the deaf families in the original study, parents were invited to visit the website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/HCS/research/EBSLD/ which contained video clips of signed examples of each vocabulary item. One or both of the questionnaires was completed by parents when the child reached 24m or at the end of the project if the child was at that time less than 24m. A follow-up data collection exercise took place 12 months after the end of the project. A number of analyses have been undertaken of the CDI data in both English and BSL for this group of deaf children of hearing parents. Their data have also been compared with hearing monolingual children acquiring English as a first language (Hamilton, Plunkett, and Schafer 2000), and with the deaf native signer group (Woolfe et al. 2010) The data presented here come from 29 deaf children aged around 24 months at the first point of data collection. Table 1 presents demographic data for these children. The sample

26  Bencie Woll comprised 16 bilingual children (children for whom BSL and English CDIs were completed) and 13 monolingual children (children for whom only English CDIs were completed). Over half of the monolingual children had moderate hearing losses; over half of the bilingual children were severely to profoundly deaf; but it should be noted that hearing loss was not the sole determinant of bilingual or monolingual development, since some children in all hearing loss groups had BSL exposure. Table 1.  Deaf children of hearing parents Age (months)

Mean age (months)

% Moderately deaf

% Moderateseverely deaf

% Severely deaf

% Profoundly deaf

Bilingual (N = 16)

18–24

23.2

29

21

43

7

Monolingual (N = 13)

14–24

20.6

53

14

29

4

Groups

Figure 4 below indicates comprehension and production scores in English (UK CDI) and BSL (BSL CDI) for the bilingual deaf children. There were no significant differences between language proficiency in children with different degrees of hearing loss, but there was a non-significant tendency for profoundly deaf children to be weakest in English and strongest in BSL.

Language x degree of deafness 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0

Moderate Severe Profound

UK CDI Comprehension

UK CDI Production

BSL CDI Comprehension

BSL CDI Production

Figure 4.  Vocabulary size in bilingual deaf children at 24 months.

Figure 4. Vocabulary size in bilingual deaf children at 24 months

Sign language and spoken language development in young children 27

Figure 5 below compares the children’s vocabulary size in English and BSL. There were no significant differences between English and BSL skills in either comprehension or production, but the very substantial individual differences in vocabulary size between children should be noted. Interestingly, parents report greater comprehension of English than of BSL, but because data were collected without direct observation it is impossible to know whether these children really can comprehend as many spoken English words as their parents believe them to. 300 250 200

UK MacArthur-Bates CDI

150

BSL CDI

100 50 0 Comprehension

Production

Figure 5.  Comparison of English and BSL vocabulary size in deaf children Figure 5. Comparison ofparents English and BSL vocabulary size in deaf children with hearing with hearing parents

How do the deaf children with hearing parents compare in terms of BSL vocabulary size to deaf children with deaf parents? Figure 6 shows the number of signs comprehended and produced by the two groups of children. Perhaps not surprisingly, the native signers have significantly greater vocabularies in both comprehension and production as assessed through the BSL CDI (p