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ERIC Number: ED519437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 276
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-6678-7
Identifying Depiction in American Sign Language Presentations
Thumann, Mary Agnes
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Gallaudet University
This dissertation examines depiction in American Sign Language (ASL) presentations. The impetus for this study came from my work as an instructor in an interpreter education program. The majority of ASL/English interpreters are second language learners of ASL, and many of them find some features of ASL challenging to learn. These features are inextricably tied to what has been referred to as role shifting, constructed dialogue or constructed action, classifiers, and the referential use of space. Following Dudis (2007), I refer to these features as depiction. This dissertation takes a first step in the analysis of depiction, focusing on the identifying information that occurs just prior to and at the onset of instances of depiction. Using a text analysis approach in conjunction with ELAN transcription software (a transcription program where annotations are linked to the video source), I analyzed four presentations from the American Sign Language Teachers' Association's (ASLTA) About Teaching ASL series. I identified changes in the signers' head position, eye gaze, facial expression, and body position just prior to and at the onset of instances of depiction. I report on the occurrence and co-occurrence of these nonmanual changes that aid in identifying depiction. I also report on information in ASL discourse that aids addressees in distinguishing between switches in depiction and recurring depiction. Throughout this dissertation I apply my findings as I propose a method of text analysis, using ELAN, as a means of drawing students' attention to the linguistic features of depiction. With an enhanced understanding of depiction, second language learners may be better able to comprehend ASL and to incorporate depiction in their own language use. The proposed approach of using ELAN for text analysis provides a strategy to guide second language learners as they practice identifying depiction. This study provides a starting point for working with second language learners to help them recognize, understand, and produce depiction in discourse. This study also provides interpreter educators and teachers of ASL a better understanding of depiction and offers an important framework for training interpreters to analyze and understand ASL texts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A