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Communication and Communication Methods

Communication and Communication Methods

by on May 1, 2009
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Knowing various communication methods is different from knowing how to interpret with deaf-bind people. The articles in this section focus on various communication methods that deaf-blind people use; to know how these communication methods are incorporated into the interpreting process, please see the category above on “Interpreting with Deaf-Blind People.”


103 HAPTIC SIGNALS - A REFERENCE BOOK-- Danish Association of the Deafblind: 2012, 123. This book is produced by The Danish Association of the Deafblind in collaboration with Centre for Sign Language - The Interpreter Training Program and The Information Centre for Acquired Deafblindness. The illustrations show Anette Rosenqvist making haptic (touch) signals on the back of Dorte Eriksen who is deafblind. Anette Rosenqvist and Dorte Eriksen are some of the Danish pioneers in the development of haptic communication.  This document is available on the web at:


ABOUT COMMUNICATION WITH PEOPLE WITH ACQUIRED DEAFBLINDNESS-- Information Center for Acquired Deafblindness: 11. This translation of the Danish booklet "Om Kommunikation Med Dovblinblevne" provides practical techniques for effective communication with people who have become deafblind in their youth or adulthood. The term deafblind is defined and the ramifications of having dual sensory impairment is discussed. Topics include: person-to-person communication, sign language and manual alphabet techniques, communication through a contact person or interpreter, conducting meetings, and deafblind telephone equipment. The section on conducting meetings covers several aspects and details such as: interpreter accommodations, the formats of the agenda and other meeting materials, breaks, lighting and indoor arrangements, and technical aids. A meeting checklist is provided. Om Kommunikation Med Dovblindlevne


THE ACQUISITION OF TACTILE SIGN LANGUAGE BY DEAF-BLIND ADULTS, Steffen, Candace, CI. 1997, 1. In this article the question of whether Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users who become blind and become tactile ASL users, go through the same process of language acquisition as any other second language learner. Typical learner strategies for second language acquisition are compared to the acquisition of tactile sign language. VIEWS, vol.14, #11, December 1997, p.18


ASLEEP, LAST ROW, ON THE LEFT/ Jacobs, Rhonda. 2011, 3. This article is about interpreting for deaf-blind individuals. It defines back-channeling (how we let the person who is talking to us know that we are listening, we are following and what our reactions are to what they are saying while they are saying it.) Examples of back-channeling, equal access and the primacy of touch for deaf-blind individuals are described. RID VIEWS, vol. 28, #3, Summer 2011, pp. 20-22


ASSESSMENT OF DEAFBLIND ACCESS TO MANUAL LANGUAGE SYSTEMS (ADAMLS), Blaha, Robbie, Carlson, Brad. -- DBLINK: The National Information Clearinghouse On Children Who Are Deaf-Blind: 2007, 49. The Assessment of Deafblind Access to Manual Language Systems (ADAMLS) is a resource for educational teams responsible for developing appropriate adaptations and strategies for children who are deaf-blind and who are candidates for learning manual language systems. Part 1 describes the assessment process including assembling a team, compiling information and conducting observations, documenting findings, and updating a student's IEP. Part 2 addresses assesssment questions and possible adaptations and includes the following: placement and distance related to visual fields; type, distance, and rate related to visual acuity; nonmanual signals; lighting; visual background; group settings; coactive signing; hand tracking; tactual signing; environmental information; English language acquisition and Braille; interpreting modifications; and self-advocacy. Part 3 provides a checklist to support the assessment process. This document is available on the web at:


ASSUME NOTHING: Deafblindness - An Introduction, West Australian Deafblind Association. -- All Round Vision: 1999, 22 min. Demonstrates and describes a variety of methods and techniques for communicating and interacting with people who are deafblind. Introduces six clients of the WA Deafblind Association ranging from the very young to adults. Presents issues in the daily lives of these individuals, including use of touch cues and signs, technology, tactile interpreting, and career choices. Open captioned. Available from Senses Foundation, Inc., 6th Avenue and Whatley Crescent, PO Box 14, Maylands, Western Australia 6931. Phone: (61) 08 9272 1122. Fax: (61) 08 9272 6600. E-mail:


BEING IN TOUCH: Communication and Other Issues in the Lives of People Who Are Deaf-Blind, Atwood, Alan A.; Clarkson, John Dennis; Laba, Charlene R. -- Gallaudet University: 1994, vii, 80. This book is aimed at interpreters, teachers, and other professionals who work with deaf-blind people. It provides basic information about deaf-blindness and devotes a large section to interpreting. The appendices cover organizations, agencies, and schools serving deaf-blind people; training for teachers and interpreters; manual and braille alphabets; and characteristics of vision loss; recommendations for those looking for more information.


COMMUNICATIVE STRATEGY: Including Transfer to Tactile Mode, Fuglesang, Live; Mortensen, Ole E. 1997, 18. This paper presents the main points of the research in the field of tactile communication. It also presents the results of a survey looking at deafblind persons own experiences with tactile communication. Reviews methods of tactile communication, touch manuals and Tadoma. Additional information on transferring to tactile communication as one acquires deafblindness. Plenary presentation at the 4th European Conference on Deafblindness, Madrid, Spain, July 1997.


CONFERENCE REPORTS: How Do We Communicate (with Assistive Technology)? Let Me Count the Ways, Kendrick, Deborah. 2000, 5. This article describes the adaptive technology, interpreters, and other communication techniques that were used at the national conference of the American Association of Deaf-Blind. Describes the various methods of communication modes that were used in order to effectively communicate to all participants of the conference. ACCESSWORLD, vol. 1, #6, November 2000, pp. 22-26.


CUEMMUNICATION: Beginning communication with people who are deafblind, Barrey Grassick, Sharon. 1998, 1. This article presents CUEmmunication or Touch-Cue Communication, a system for communicating with individuals who are deaf-blind. These guidelines are especially designed for people who are starting work on communication for the first time. The technique provides meaningful information through a combination of approach, tangible object cues, touch cues, and touch signs/gestures. It is explained in a 10 step approach and can be adapted to use with individuals of all ages. DBL REVIEW, January-June 1998, p.8


CYBERSIGN AND NEW PROXIMITIES: Impacts of New Communication Technologies on Space and Language, Keating, Elizabeth; Edwards, Terra; Mirus, Gene. 2008, 14. This article addresses ways that new digital communication technologies that transmit video images (e.g., via the Internet or videophone) are influencing social interaction and language use among the Deaf community in the U.S. It shows examples of ways signers are inventing or adapting communication behaviors as a result of technological mediation of their visual space. Although the article does not directly address these issues for individuals who are deaf-blind, it includes a couple of examples of how some adaptations are similar to adaptations used by deaf-blind people. JOURNAL OF PRAGMATICS, vol. 40, pp. 1067-1081.


'DACTYLS' METHOD OF COMMUNICATION, Reyes, Daniel Alvarez. 2001, 3. This article describes a new type of sign language developed by a deafblind man in Spain. His sign language combines both the Spanish manual alphabet finger signing and Spanish Sign Language (LSE), adapted for use in the palm of the hand, i.e. it uses both letters and signs in the hand. This method produces a faster speed of communication than traditional sign or manual spelling. Keys to using the signs, developing the system as well as advantages and disadvantages of the system are included. DBI REVIEW, #27, January-June 2001, pp. 4-6.


THE DEAFBLIND AND AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE --Tabak, John. Westport, CT: Praeger. Significant Gestures: A History of American Sign Language. (2006) pp. 157-180. This book chapter begins with an overview of deaf-blindness and its impact on the acquisition of language.  Following the introduction are brief biographies of Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller and descriptions of the Tadoma Method and tactile American Sign Language (ASL).  The latter addresses difficulties encountered when ASL is expressed tactilely including distinguishing between questions and statements, providing feedback to the signer as information is conveyed ("back-channel feedback"), and comprehending signs made near the face.  The chapter concludes with a brief biography of Harry C. Anderson.


DEFINITIONS OF ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION STYLES WITH DEAF-BLIND PEOPLE, Devich, Julie. 1997, 1. In this article several styles of communication used by Deaf-Blind people are examined. When interpreting for a Deaf-Blind person it is necessary to match their unique communication style with an accurate form of interpreting. Some issues to consider are knowing the field of available vision, knowing if the consumer is right or left-handed, and being able to use devices such as microphones or a TTY. VIEWS, vol.14, #11, December 1997, p.15


DEPRIVATION OF INFORMATION, O'Malley, Drena. -- Deafblind International: no date, 4. Describes the causes of deprivation of information for deaf-blind people and provides suggestions for interpreters and communication partners. Causes include an inability to assimilate incidental information (information gained by looking around a room or by listening while uninvolved in a situation), censorship (e.g., when interpreters or family members consciously or subconsciously censor information due to lack of skills or because they think the information will be unpalatable or politically incorrect), inconsistency in the use of communication forms. All of these things may lead to relationship difficulties, learning stagnation, and withdrawal. Solutions include improved training for sign language interpreters, development of paraphrasing skills, more recognition of the separate and unique needs of deaf-blind people, and recognition of deaf-blind culture.


FASTEN SEATBELTS: A Guided Tour of the Research on Deafblind Communication in 45 Minutes, Mortensen, Ole E. 1999, 15. A presentation giving an overview of the research that has taken place regarding communication and the deafblind population. Reviews communication methods such as ASL, tactile ASL, finger spelling, computer recognition, Tadoma, and communication speed and accuracy of each. This document is available on the web at: Plenary presentation at the International Symposium on Development and Innovations in Interpreting for Deafblind People, Netherlands, June 1999. 


A GLOSSARY OF SOME COMMUNICATION METHODS USED WITH DEAF-BLIND PEOPLE, Cooper, Sheryl B. 1997, 1. Contains descriptions of 13 methods of communication used by Deaf-Blind People. Includes: Print on Palm; Tadoma; Small Sign Language; Tactile Sign Language; Tactile Fingerspelling; FingerBraille; Alphabet Glove; Alphabet Card; Braille Alphabet Card; Tellatouch; TeleBraille and Braille Tape. Includes illustrations. VIEWS, vol.14, #11, December 1997, p.6


GUIDELINES: Practical Tips for Working and Socializing with Deaf-Blind People, Smith, Theresa B. -- Sign Media, Inc: 2002, 288. This second edition of Guidelines includes expanded chapters on topics such as tactile sign language, interpreting, conversation and physical environment. New information and more examples are included. Three new chapters include: Support Service Providers; Authority, Power and Control; and Meetings. The book is intended for people who know Sign Language, who are already experienced in "deafness" and in interacting with Deaf people, and who want to know more about "deaf-blindness" and interpreting for Deaf-Blind people. Professional interpreters, student interpreters, and anyone who wants to communicate and/or work more effectively with Deaf-Blind people will benefit from reading this book. May be ordered from Sign Media, Inc., 4020 Blackburn Lane, Burtonsville, MD 20866. Phone: (800) 475-4756. Cost: $24.95 Publisher's web site:


HAPTICES AND HAPTEMES: A Case Study of Developmental Process in Social-Haptic Communication of Acquired Deafblind People [Dissertation], Lahtinen, Riitta M. -- A1 Management: 2008, 196. This dissertation describes a qualitative study of communication between a deaf-blind individual and his hearing-sighted partner and how their communication experiences changed as his hearing and vision deteriorated. It focuses on social-haptic communication, a form of touch communication that augments verbal or signed language. Two different elements of social-haptic communication are classified. (1) Haptices—messages shared by touch on the body. These messages make it possible to share such things as emotional experiences, social atmospheres, hobbies, and games. (2) Haptemes—the small components of touch messages that make up each haptice. A hapteme is received through a body channel, in which the whole body is transmitting touch information.


HOLISTIC AND INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH ACQUIRED DEAFBLIND PEOPLE, Lahtinen, Riitta. 1999, 2. An article outlining an upcoming research grant focusing on holistic communication strategies in the area of acquired deafblindness. The aims of the research are: to examine the strategies and theoretical models of the function of language for improving communication for acquired deafblind people, their family members and interpreters, to analyze and identify how these different methods and techniques can be applied to improve the quality of communication, to identify internationally the most common methods of how a person is able to describe their own emotional feelings, to interpret environmental information and non-verbal signals to deafblind persons through touch, and to produce articles, videos and teaching materials during the research project. NUD NEWS BULLETIN, #1, 1999, pp. 20-21.


INTERPRETING AND WORKING WITH DEAFBLIND PEOPLE, Bar-Tzur, David. / 2000, 9. Offers advice to interpreters working with persons who are deafblind. Covers four areas: meeting and negotiating needs, communication, guiding, and interpreting. Online version has links to additional information. Publisher's web site: This document is available on the web at:


LOSING TOUCH: A Survey of Sign Language Reception and Modification for Deaf People Who are Losing Their Sight, Woodford, Doreen E. / SENSE/C.A.C.D.P. 1987, 16. This is the report of an investigation conducted in England commissioned and funded by SENSE and the Council for the Advancement of Communication with All Deaf People - CACDP. It was designed to explore the communication needs brought about by the addition of adventitious visual impairment to an existing hearing loss in which sign language was the chief form of communication; to explore some of the situations imposed by visual impairment; and to offer possible insights and suggestions to professionals and other interested persons. Data was collected through interviews with 30 subjects, 10 of whom had Usher Syndrome. Communication methods used by the subjects are discussed. Spoken language, use of residual sight, and sign language must eventually be supplemented by deafblind manual communication. Subjects' views on help needed by and best approaches from professionals are included.


MANUAL AND SPOKEN COMMUNICATION, Prickett, Jeanne Glidden. -- AFB Press: 1995, 25. This chapter examines language-based communication as a mode of interaction for students who are deaf-blind. There are 3 main sections. The first section covers sign language and includes information about tactile sign language, modifications of sign language for visually impaired persons, visual and tactile tracking, sign language instruction guidelines, considerations for choosing ASL or Signed English for a child, and fingerspelling. The section on fingerspelling includes details about reception modes for tactile fingerspelling (palm-over-palm, palm-in-palm, birdcage). The second section very briefly addresses spoken communication including speech training, auditory training, and Tadoma). The third section covers interpreting for deaf-blind people, working with interpreters, and finding interpreters. Hand in Hand: Essentials of Communication and Orientation and Mobility for Your Students Who Are Deaf-Blind, Vol I. Kathleen Mary Huebner, Jeanne Glidden Prickett, Therese Rafalowski Welch, & Elga Joffee (Eds)


METHODS OF COMMUNICATION, AIDS, AND DEVICES, Couslin; Dooley. 1995, 4. This article lists several methods of communication, aids, and devices for deaf-blind individuals. Includes alert/signal vibrating system, alphabet plates, visual fingerspelling, loop system, label machine, and tactual sign language. AMERICAN REHABILITATION, vol. 21, #2, Summer 1995, pp. 44-47.


MODIFIED SIGN LANGUAGE FOR CONGENITALLY DEAFBLIND PEOPLE, Thestrup, Ann; Anderson, Ove Vedel. 1994, 2. This article outlines the work being done in Denmark to modify sign language for use by deafblind people. The rationale for the modification, the principles for modifying the signs, and the procedure for standardizing are all listed, as are the future goals in this field. DEAFBLIND EDUCATION, January-June 1994, pp. 16-17.


PARTNERS IN LANGUAGE,Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. This 28-minute videotape demonstrates the teaching methods and strategies employed at the Helen Keller National Center to increase communication skills among adults with deaf-blindness and limited language skills. Using a case study approach, communication training is seen as it is provided during functional adult activities (i.e., work, meal preparation, leisure time). Interaction between staff and students are presented. Techniques to encourage non-symbolic and symbolic communications are demonstrated. Specific communication methods such as the use of tangible or object symbols are explained. Interactions between staff and students demonstrate the techniques used to introduce tactual sign language vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the environment, turn-taking strategies and role models for language acquisition. A review of all methods and strategies demonstrated at the end of the tape. Available from HKNC, 111 Middleneck Road, Sands Point, NY, 11050, (516) 944-8900.


PRO-TACTILE: THE DEAFBLIND WAY (VLOG #1) / Nuccio, Jelica,granda, aj, 2013, 9 minutes, 44 seconds.

This online vlog is one in a series of online vlogs describing what Pro-Tactile means within the DeafBlind community. "Pro-Tactile" in this context means the value of touch for purposes of communication. During this conversation, Jelica and aj give each other tactile feedback the whole time, tapping on each other’s legs, and hands, and shoulders, and arms with one hand and simultaneously signing with their other hand. This document is available on the web at:


PRO-TACTILE: THE DEAFBLIND WAY (VLOG #2) / Nuccio, Jelica; granda, aj. 2013, 5 minutes. This online vlog is the second  in a series of online vlogs describing what Pro-Tactile means within the DeafBlind community.  "Pro-Tactile" in this context means the value of touch for purposes of communication. During this brief presentation, Jelica and aj discuss the meaning of back-channeling as the number one most important Pro-Tactile [PT] practice.  This document is available on the web at:


PRO-TACTILE: THE DEAFBLIND WAY (VLOG #3) / Nuccio, Jelica; granda, aj. 2013, 5 minutes, 35 seconds. This online vlog is the third in a series of online vlogs describing what Pro-Tactile means within the DeafBlind community. "Pro-Tactile" in this context means the value of touch for purposes of communication. During this brief presentation, Jelica and aj talk about the difference between haptics and Pro-Tactile.  This document is available on the web at:


PRO-TACTILE: THE DEAFBLIND WAY (VLOG #4) / Nuccio, Jelica; granda, aj. 2013, 5 minutes, 17 seconds. This online vlog is the fourth in a series of online vlogs describing what Pro-Tactile means within the DeafBlind community.  "Pro-Tactile" in this context means the value of touch for purposes of communication. During this brief conversation, Jelica and aj continue the conversation regarding back-channeling begun on a previous vlog in order to respond to questions they received about the practice.  This document is available on the web at:


SCRIPTED SUPPORT: Enhancing the Communication and Participation of Adults with Congenital Deafblindness Using Signing Scripts --Pram, Meredith. 14th DbI World Conference on Deafblindness Conference Proceedings, September 25-30, 2007, Perth, Australia. (2007) unnumbered. This is text of a workshop presentation given at the 14th DbI World Conference on Deaf-Blindness.  This presentation outlines some of the communication issues faced by adults with congenital deafblindness, describes what a signing script is and who may benefit from the use of signing scripts.  It will highlight the benefits and limitations of this approach and finally will conclude with some suggestions for further work required in the area of communication with adults with congenital deafblindness.


SIGN LANGUAGE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF-BLIND: Suggestions for Tactile and Visual Modifications, Morgan, Susie. 1998, 5. This article provides helpful hints about techniques that enhance comfort and ease other concerns when signing with deaf-blind people. Topics discussed include: appearance and attire, distance and seating, signing space, hand positioning, conveying the message, tactile adaptations, describing the full environment, environmental factors and concerns, consumer feedback, and team interpreting. This document is available on the web at: DEAF-BLIND PERSPECTIVES, vol.6, #1, Fall 1998, pp.3-7


SIGNED CONVERSATIONS OF DEAF-BLIND PEOPLE, Mesch, Johanna, PhD. -- Canadian Deafblind and Rubella Association: 2003, 5. This is the text of a workshop presentation given at the 13th DbI World Conference on Deaf-Blindness. The study focuses on turn taking and questions in conversations among deaf-blind people using tactile sign language. 13th DbI World Conference on Deafblindness Conference Proceedings, August 5-10, 2003, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


THE SOCIOLINGUISTICS OF SIGN LANGUAGE, Lucas, Ceil; Bayley, Robert; Kelly, Arlene Blumenthal. -- Blackwell Publishing: 2005. This book chapter on sociolinguistic variation in American Sign Language (ASL) contains a 2-page section on variations in tactile ASL (primarily a summary of a study by Collins and Petronio that was published in "Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze: Language Use in Deaf Communities," Gallaudet University Press, 1998). Martin J. Ball. Clinical Sociolinguistics.


TACTILE INTERPRETING - ARE YOU READY? Downey, Jodene. 1997, 1. In this article various types of tactile interpreting are depicted illustrating possible work assignments an interpreter might encounter. Typing skills may be required if clients use laptop computers that have Braille output devices. Issues such as transportation needs and regulations; multiple roles; and team support for longer interpreting assignments, all need to be considered and planned for in advance so the Deaf-Blind person's needs will be met. Opportunities for obtaining more experience in these areas are listed. VIEWS, vol.14, #11, December 1997, p.12


TACTILE SIGN LANGUAGE, Harlin, Deborah. 1996, 4. Tactile sign language is one of the most prevalent communication systems used by deaf-blind individuals and is used in a variety of forms. Tips for tactile sign instruction are offered. HKNC-TAC NEWS, vol. 8, no. 2, Winter 1996, p. 8-11.


TACTILE SIGN LANGUAGE: Turn Taking and Questions In Signed Conversations of Deaf-Blind People, Mesch, Johanna. -- Signum: 1998, 250. This dissertation is primarily about turn-taking and questions as they are carried out in tactile conversation. Beginning with the concept of deaf-blind people and different methods of communication, it then presents the material used in the author’s analysis and then an overview of the concept of "conversation" which consists of sequences, turns, adjacency pairs and feedback. It then looks more specifically at form and function regarding questions with an overview of interrogative clauses in sign language and shows what partial signals are used in questions. The author also analyzes yes/no questions, alternative questions and wh-questions. Finally the book examines support questions and how conversational participants support one another by requesting feedback and clarification. This dissertation was originally written in Swedish and then translated into English. Publisher's web site: International Studies on Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf, Volume 38


TACTILE SWEDISH SIGN LANGUAGE: Turn Taking in Signed Conversations of People Who Are Deaf and Blind, Mesch, Johanna. -- Gallaudet University Press: 16. This chapter describes how deaf-blind people regulate turn-taking in conversations when using tactile sign language. Describes the two different conversation positions, monologue and dialogue, used by deaf-blind signers. Provides line drawings to illustrate how the different positions affect the conversation, and the manual sign structure. Describes turn zones, back channeling and support turns, all of which direct the flow of the conversation. From Bilingualism and Identity in Deaf Communities, Metzger, Melanie (Ed.).


A THIRD WAY: Communication Project for Adults and Elderly People with Acquired Deafblindness, Bruun, Jenna W.; Ottesen, Henrik H. -- Canadian Deafblind and Rubella Association: 2003, 7. This is the text of a workshop presentation given at the 13th DbI World Conference on Deaf-Blindness. The paper describes the creation of a third way to communicate, a tool for communication based on linguistic components from sign language, tactile sign language and tactile signs. 13th DbI World Conference on Deafblindness Conference Proceedings, August 5-10, 2003, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


THE USE OF VISUAL FEEDBACK DURING SIGNING: Evidence from Signers with Impaired Vision, Emmorey, Karen; Korpics, Franco; Petronio, Karen. 2009, 6. The role of visual feedback during the production of American Sign Language was investigated by comparing the size of signing space during conversations and narrative monologues for normally sighted signers, signers with tunnel vision due to Usher syndrome, and functionally blind signers. The interlocutor for all groups was a normally sighted deaf person. Signers with tunnel vision produced a greater proportion of signs near the face than blind and normally sighted signers, who did not differ from each other. Both groups of visually impaired signers produced signs within a smaller signing space for conversations than for monologues. Signers with tunnel vision may align their signing space with that of their interlocutor. In contrast, blind signers may enhance proprioceptive feedback by producing signs within an enlarged signing space for monologues, which do not require switching between tactile and visual signing. The authors hypothesize that signers use visual feedback to phonetically calibrate the dimensions of signing space, rather than to monitor language output. JOURNAL OF DEAF STUDIES AND DEAF EDUCATION, vol. 14, #1, pp. 99-104.


WHAT HAPPENS IN TACTILE ASL? Collins, Steven; Petronio, Karen. -- Gallaudet University Press: 1998, 19. This study focused on tactile ASL as it was used by fluent Deaf-Blind ASL users when they communicated tactilely with other fluent Deaf-Blind ASL users. Selected linguistic features from four subfields of linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax and discourse) were studied. Comparing visual ASL with tactile ASL provided a unique opportunity to observe the variation and change that occurred when a community of fluent Deaf-Blind ASL signers used a visual language in a tactile mode. Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze: Language Use in Deaf Communities. Lucas, Ceil (Ed.)


YES, #NO, VISIBILITY, AND VARIATION IN ASL AND TACTILE ASL, Petronio, Karen; Dively, Valerie. 2006, 41. When using tactile ASL, the deaf-blind receiver receives language by placing a hand on top of the signer's hand. This article describes a study that compared the functions and frequency of the signs YES and NO in tactile ASL and visual ASL. It found that YES and/or NO were used for twelve functions in both. There was, however, some variation. With regard to frequency, the two signs occurred far more often in tactile ASL. Unexpectedly, significant variation was also found within visual ASL, depending on the number of interviewees in a session. YES and NO were used more frequently with two or more interviewees and less often when only one interviewee was present. The data also reveal variation in tactile ASL that correlates with role and gender, as well as the age at which a participant started using tactile ASL. SIGN LANGUAGE STUDIES, vol. 7, #1, Fall 2006, pp. 57-98.

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