ERIC Number: ED232791
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Creative Language Abilities of Deaf Children. Research Bulletin #1.
Marschark, Marc; West, Sue A.
Flexibility and creativity in the language of deaf children were investigated by requesting four deaf and four hearing youths to generate stories on themes supplied by an experimenter. One theme concerned finding a new civilization in the center of the earth; the other centered on awakening one day to discover that animals and people had changed roles. Children's storytelling behavior was videotaped and examined for instances of nonliteral communication. Analyses indicated that, in addition to the traditional categories of novel and frozen tropes, both deaf and hearing students' stories contained four other types of creative language device: gesture, pantomime, linguistic modification, and linguistic invention. Contrary to previous claims that deaf children are extremely rigid and literal in their language use, deaf subjects showed considerable nonliteral language use when evaluated in sign rather than vocal language. It was found that deaf students produced traditional types of figurative constructions at a rate equal to that of their hearing age-mates and surpassed hearing students in the four other categories. These findings are discussed in terms of cognitive skills required for and reflected by figurative language use and are related to common assumptions about the associated abilities of deaf children. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: North Carolina Univ., Greensboro.
Note: Document prepared by the Language Research Group, Department of Psychology.