Journal Article

The Use of Visual Feedback During Signing: Evidence From Signers With Impaired Vision

Karen Emmorey, Franco Korpics and Karen Petronio

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 14, issue 1, pages 99-104
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enn020
The Use of Visual Feedback During Signing: Evidence From Signers With Impaired Vision

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The role of visual feedback during the production of American Sign Language was investigated by comparing the size of signing space during conversations and narrative monologues for normally sighted signers, signers with tunnel vision due to Usher syndrome, and functionally blind signers. The interlocutor for all groups was a normally sighted deaf person. Signers with tunnel vision produced a greater proportion of signs near the face than blind and normally sighted signers, who did not differ from each other. Both groups of visually impaired signers produced signs within a smaller signing space for conversations than for monologues, but we hypothesize that they did so for different reasons. Signers with tunnel vision may align their signing space with that of their interlocutor. In contrast, blind signers may enhance proprioceptive feedback by producing signs within an enlarged signing space for monologues, which do not require switching between tactile and visual signing. Overall, we hypothesize that signers use visual feedback to phonetically calibrate the dimensions of signing space, rather than to monitor language output.

Journal Article.  3124 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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