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Title:Segmentation of Manually Coded English: Problems in the mapping of English in the visual/gestural mode
Author(s):Supalla, Samuel James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Troike, Rudolph C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Language, General
Abstract:This study investigates Manually Coded English (MCE) and whether the structure of a spoken language can be effectively translated literally, morpheme for morpheme, into a signed language. Moreover, it investigates whether there are further structural constraints specific to signed languages which create restrictions in their typology and learnability.
The notion of modality constraints specific to signed languages versus spoken languages is tested by examining whether linear affixation is a possible morphological process in natural signed languages. Signers and non-signers were presented constructed examples based on Signing Exact English (SEE 2) and on an unfamiliar sign system (New Zealand Sign Language) to determine possible innate perceptual biases in the identification of sign boundaries, and structural limitations on the formation of possible (recognizable) sign units.
Analysis of the test data reveals highly consistent perceptual biases across the subject groups for how a sign should begin or end. The results showed that linear affixation clearly exceeds the structural/perceptual limits of sign formation, and that non-linear affixation was found to fall perceptually within the limits of a simple sign. Thus the Modality-Constraints Model is introduced to explain why MCE has basic problems as a sign system and is inherently unlearnable, so that it cannot function as a natural language. This model sheds new light on the nature of true signed languages in general.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Supalla, Samuel James
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026331
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026331

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