Communication Experiences of Deaf People: an Ethnographic Account

Autor/a: FOSTER, Susan
Año: 1993
Editorial: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Papel


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


As Grosjean (1982) has pointed out, definitions of individuals who are called “bilingual” range from minimal to nativelike control of two or more languages, and everything in between. Certainly this range of definitions can be applied to deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Deaf people may demonstrate high proficiency in both ASL and English, or they may have greater skill in one language (ASL or English). There are also deaf people who, for a variety of reasons, have never developed high levels of proficiency in either ASL or English.

Barriers to communication between deaf and hearing people often are associated with differences in language – for example, when the deaf person is using sign language and the hearing person is using English. However, deaf people who demonstrate high levels of competence in English grammar, syntax, and vocabulary may still experience difficulties in the mode most often used by hearing people for informal and spontaneous communication – the mode of speaking and listening. Even with superb speech and speechreading skills, the inability to hear often interferes with expression and reception in a speaking and listening mode: cues go unnoticed, subtle meanings associated with voice tone are not properly conveyed, comments made while a back is turned or the television is on are missed completely. In this chapter, barriers to interaction associated with communication differences (of both language and mode) between deaf and hearing people are explored.