American sign language - Sentence reproduction test: Development & implications

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Title: American sign language - Sentence reproduction test: Development & implications
Author: Hauser, Peter; Paludneviciene, Raylene; Supalla, Ted; Bavelier, Daphne
Abstract: The deaf community is widely heterogeneous in its language background. Widespread variation in fluency exists even among users of American Sign Language (ASL), the natural gestural language used by deaf people in North America. This variability is a source of unwanted "noise" in many psycholinguistic and pedagogical studies. Our aim is to develop a quantitative test of ASL fluency to allow researchers to measure and make use of this variability. We present a new test paradigm for assessing ASL fluency modeled after the Speaking Grammar Subtest of the Test of Adolescent and Adult Language, 3'd Edition (TOAL3; Hammill, Brown, Larsen, & Wiederholt, 1994). The American Sign Language-Sentence Reproduction Test (ASL-SRT) requires participants to watch computer-displayed video clips of a native signer signing sentences of increasing length and complexity. After viewing each sentence, the participant has to sign back the sentence just viewed. We review the development of appropriate test sentences, rating procedures and inter-rater reliability, and show how our preliminary version of the test already distinguishes between hearing and deaf users of ASL, as well as native and non-native users.
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Date: 2006-12

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