Llengua de signes i llengua escrita en la modalitat educativa bilingüe i en la intervenció amb l'infant sord

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to study the role of Catalan sign language (LSC) in the small sign bilingual education class groups, in particular on teaching/learning written language in primary education, and in the general Catalan context of guidance and care for deaf children, in order to propose intervention strategies with deaf pupils. To this end, this study analyses the linguistic and contextual characteristics of primary school pupils in a sign bilingual centre of Barcelona (n = 16), metalinguistic conversation in the grouping classroom and the overall context of care for deaf pupils in Catalonia, from an ecological perspective that has led to the creation of a mixed design. In the study of narrations in LSC and (Catalan/Spanish) written language, we compared the two languages and also, in an exploratory manner, the texts of each language with adult texts (n = 2), in three areas: grammar, cohesion and coherence of the discourse. In the comparison between pupils and adults, we observed that the texts in LSC show less significant differences, located on two levels of analysis, while with written language they are on all three levels and, moreover, the number of aspects which present significant differences is higher. The comparison in accordance with the modality (sign/written) allowed us to observe the similarities and differences between certain interlinguistic grammatical structures. The behaviour on the two remaining levels of analysis shows more command of LSC than of written language. With LSC the referents are maintained more, the expression of simultaneity is greater, the episodes of the narration are specified more and the internal response of the characters is expressed more. Certain aspects of written language are correlated with various factors: age, parents’ knowledge of LSC, time spent in sign bilingual education and oral language. Sign language is only correlated with parents’ knowledge of LSC. The observations in the small class groups show a literacy and constructivist environment in which metalinguistic conversation is focused above all on written language, and use of Sign supported Catalan is widespread. Crossing these results with those of individual narrations indicates that the aspects talked about in the classroom are eminently those of which the pupils have a greater command. This leads us to consider that this practice favours the development of written language and also that it may be convenient to refocus the conversation toward those aspects over which they have less command in order to cultivate other interlinguistic transfer processes. For this, it is essential to promote the bilingual educational modality, as the results indicate that, despite being a very recent and innovative project, the support received has been insufficient. In relation to the global context of the intervention, the results of the documentary analysis and of the interviews carried out in three institutions from different parts of Catalonia indicate that exposure to LSC is not considered during the critical period of language as a preventive measure for the purpose of ensuring language acquisition and the communicative and cognitive development of the deaf child. We also found signs that information on the sign language modality for the parents of deaf children cannot be guaranteed, given that the theoretical framework which supports its practice is based on language acquisition learning/empiricist theories to the detriment of linguistic/nativist theories, and the syllabi of speech therapists, who make up the majority of the professionals of the CREDA, do not include many contents on LSC. It can be drawn from the results of the research that it is necessary to decouple the early linguistic intervention from the subsequent educational path, and to prioritise simultaneous cross-modal bilingualism instead of successive bilingualism.
Date of Award18 Dec 2015
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorJosep Quer Villanueva (Director) & Enric Roca Casas (Director)

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