Reference control in the narratives of adult sign language learners

Autor/a: BEL, Aurora; ORTELLS, Marta; MORGAN, Gary:
Año: 2015
Editorial: International Journal of Bilingualism, vol. 19, n.5 (2015), pp. 608-624
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje, Educación » Aspectos psicológicos y cognitivos


Aims and Objectives: Learning to control reference in narratives is a major step in becoming a speaker of a second language, including a signed language. Previous research describes the pragmatic and cognitive mechanisms that are used for reference control and it is clear that differences are apparent between first and second language speakers. However, some debate exists about the reasons for second language learners’ tendency for over-redundancy in reference forms especially in the use of pronouns. In this study we tested these proposed reasons for L2 differences. Methodology: Narratives by 11 native signers and 13 adult advanced-learners of Catalan sign language were analysed for person reference. Data: Analysis focused on forms for introduction, reintroduction and maintenance of characters. Findings: The results indicate both groups used reference forms according to information saliency principles in similar ways. Differences between the groups were in the use of pronominal signs, where the learners adopted an over-redundancy strategy in line with one hypothesis in the previous studies on second language acquisition in spoken languages. Significance: The results are discussed in terms of the vulnerable syntax–pragmatics interface in developing bilinguals.