Research & Scholarly Achievement
at Gallaudet University
L2 Acquisition of ASL in M1 and M2 Contexts.
We are proposing a longitudinal study of the acquisition of ASL as a second language, including both hearing (M1) and Deaf (M2) learners. There has recently been a surge in research interest on the acquisition of sign language as a second language. However, the data from recent publications come from sign<naïve subjects who are not actually learning a sign language. Furthermore, little research exists on L2 sign acquisition by Deaf learners who have already acquired an L1 sign language. The proposed study follows actual M1 and M2 L2 learners before and after their first intensive ASL class, documenting their lexical, phonological, and syntactic development at the very beginning stages of L2 acquisition of ASL. We will run a small battery of linguistic tests on students just prior to and at the end of 2< week summer Professional Studies courses held at Gallaudet. This will yield a modest body of data from which we can test claims from the recent L2 (sign and spoken) literature, and eventually compare against sign acquisition patterns from M1L2 learners, to be collected the following summer. Analysis of these data will allow exploration of the role of modality in L2 learning for both experienced and inexperienced signers, and pedagogical implications for different types of learners (M1F vs. M2; spoken language L2 vs. sign language L2).