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Deaf around the WorldThe Impact of Language$
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Gaurav Mathur and Donna Jo Napoli

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2020

Sources of Handshape Error in First-Time Signers of ASL

Sources of Handshape Error in First-Time Signers of ASL

Chapter:
(p.96) Chapter 3 Sources of Handshape Error in First-Time Signers of ASL
Source:
Deaf around the World
Author(s):

Deborah Chen Pichler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0005

This chapter reports on a study that investigates the phenomenon of “sign accent,” or systematic phonological errors made by nonsigners attempting to mimic isolated ASL signs. The study has implications for sign language teaching, where people are learning an unfamiliar language in a modality new to them. The study finds two factors relevant to how well nonsigners produce the target handshape. One is markedness; anatomical features of the hand affect dexterity in making a sign, although with qualifications. This general finding is no surprise — studies of acquisition repeatedly show the relevance of phonetic markedness. The other factor, however, is surprising: transfer of phonological features from gestures hearing people make (with or without accompanying speech) affects the ability to mimic signs.

Keywords:   sign language accent, second language learning, language modality, mimic, gesture, sign language phonetics, sign language linguistics, American Sign Language

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