Nonsense-Sign Repetition Project

!!!This project finished in August 2008. To learn about our findings, read our project update.!!!

The Nonsense-Sign Repetition Task was a project that examined phonological abilities of deaf and hearing children, and deaf adults. In this context, we were interested in people's acquisition of particular phonological skills, i.e. hand shape, movement, orientation, and location. Another area of interest was the relationship between children's phonological skills, other aspects of their language (such as grammar and word-learning), and memory.

For this purpose, we devised a repetition test that was short and fun. In the test, children were presented with a number of nonsense signs (i.e. signs that do not exist in BSL but could be possible BSL signs) and asked to repeat each sign. We were interested in whether this task would help us identify deaf children whose language is developing more slowly than would be expected.

We were also hoping the project would teach us about the relationship between phonology, other language skills and memory, which received a lot of attention in spoken language but has been less researched in signed languages.

For this project, we worked with deaf children between the ages of 3-10 years with no additional disabilities.


Wolfgang Mann -