Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze: Language Use in Deaf Communities

By Ceil Lucas | Go to book overview

Conversational Repairs in ASL

Valerie L. Dively

Studies on spoken language conversations indicate that natural languages contain mechanisms called repairs. Repairs are used for handling breakdowns in the conversation but also come into play when a speaker is monitoring and adjusting his or her own utterances. In fact, speakers in conversations are more likely to repair their own utterances than addressees repair the other speakers' utterances (Moerman 1977; Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks 1977; Schiffrin 1987). Ethnographic interviews with two Native Deaf informants i. are used as the sociolinguistic fieldwork that provided data for this paper's preliminary investigation of conversational repairs in American Sign Language (ASL). A comparison of conversational repairs in ASL, a visual-spatial language, and English, an aural-vocal language, also is included. This study provides new insights regarding the structure of ASL and fluent Deaf ASL signers' capabilities in communicating with one another in ASL. 2.


ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEWS

The data consist of two videotaped and transcribed ASL ethnographic interviews. One full-blooded Hopi Deaf female informant, one full‐ blooded Akimel O' odham (formerly known as Pima) Deaf male informant 3. and myself, the investigator, as the mixed-blooded Deaf female ethnographer were the participants in the interviews for this study on the organization of conversational repairs in ASL. With ASL as our primary

____________________
2.
Funding for this research was provided through the Small Grants Fund, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.
3.
I want to give special thanks to the informants for their participation in this study. In this paper, the informants' names have been changed to keep their identities confidential.
i.
In this paper, the term Native refers to indigenous peoples in the Americas (Native Americans and indigenous peoples of the North American Arctic).

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Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze: Language Use in Deaf Communities
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