Proficiency and Depiction in ASL

Summary of Preliminary results for Depiction and Proficiency Research Project

Date of research:  March 2014 - ongoing

Study description:  The aim of this research is to determine how depiction usage compares among signers of different ASLPI levels, gain a better understanding of types of depiction evidenced at various levels of proficiency, and identify indicators of fluency by skilled signers as well as problem areas of less skilled signers.

 Research questions guiding this study are:

  • What types of depiction occur in the language use of signers at various levels of proficiency?
  • What is the frequency of occurrence of these types of depiction in the language use of signers at various levels of proficiency on the ASLPI?
  • How does depiction usage compare among signers of different ASLPI levels?

Preliminary Study results:  Preliminary findings show that signers assessed at lower ASLPI levels (0,1 and 2) produced an average of 4 instances of depiction per minute; signers at ASLPI levels 2+ and 3 produced an average of 7.7 instances of depiction per minute; signers at ASLPI levels 3+ and 4 produced an average of 11.5 instances of depiction per minute; and signers at levels 4+ and 5 produced an average of 22 instances of depiction per minute. The higher number of instances of depiction produced by signers with ASLPI levels 4+ and 5 is almost double that of signers assessed at 3+ and 4. In addition, the more proficient signers produced more sequences of depiction and had increased variation in types of depiction. Continued analysis will provide information about types and frequency of depiction at various levels of proficiency.

Contact information:  mary.thumann@gallaudet.edu

Thumann Excerpts Presentation

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