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L2 Students Can’t Learn Depiction … NOT

Have you ever wondered what an L2 learner of ASL is trying to say? L2 learners of American Sign Language typically tend to think lexically rather than visually, which influences their signing production. A simple four word sentence in English, e.g. “The person went skiing.”, Can be expressed in numerous ways by incorporating grammatical features congruent with ASL. Usually the L2 learner has difficulty spontaneously generating a sentence that incorporates ASL grammatical features. By using Non-manual markers, topicalization, rhetorical question, and depiction, there are infinite ways to express this idea. Often, an L2 learner of ASL is not accustomed to incorporating these types of expressions in their L1 because they lack muscle memory. When they learn to communicate in ASL, their expressions remain flat and do not communicate an accurate message in ASL. This can leave the receiver lost and confused. How can teachers guide students to become successful users of ASL?

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Alisha Bronk

Alisha Bronk

Alisha Bronk’s mission has always been to share her love of ASL and Deaf culture with as many people as possible. While getting her master’s degree in TESOL: Applied Linguistics from Portland State University, she became involved in international education. She maintains her freelance interpreting practice as a Certified Deaf Interpreter, and giving a workshop on Depiction (Classifiers) while teaching as a lecturer at the Department of Interpretation and Translation and ASL coaching at Gallaudet University.