Parisot, A.-M. et A. De La Durantaye (2005) "The assessment of phonological movement in Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) in two deaf children from the province of Quebec", For the study of child language. 10th International Congress of International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL), Berlin, 25-29 juillet 2005.
Studies on oral language acquisition show universal tendencies in phonological
development (Ingram, 1986, 1989; Locke, 1983, Menn & Stoel-Gammon, 1995).
Studying the substitutions made by children makes it possible to examine the
articulatory complexity of phonemes and to determine the marked or unmarked
character of certain oppositions. Along the Saille lines, a number of studies
on the acquisition of signs and their internaI structure (Boyes-Bream, 1990;
Marentette & Mayberry, 2000; Meier et al. 1998; Siedlecki & Bonvillian,
1997; Parisot et al, 2000, etc.) have shown that handshape, location, and movement
could be independent sources of
errors in the signed productions of deaf children. If oral and signed languages can be distinguished in terms of phonological production, they do however share common motor principles. Indeed, in both cases it is possible to propose articulatory-based models for the acquisition of phonological elements of the language. ln this talk, we will present a detailed analysis of movement errors, based on criteria of articulatory complexity, in the production of 10 LSQ signs bytwo deafchildren, aged 3;4 and 3;10 yeaTS, from the province of Quebec.
We will focus on the analysis of movements from joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist and phalanges) which were collected and described using a tool to assess phonological skills in LSQ (De la Durantaye et al. 2004). The data were collected by a speech-language pathologist in the context of a reallanguage rehabilitation session with the subjects. The assessment tool, created by a team of linguists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists, consists in three descriptive grids (for movements, handshapes and whole signs) and in two scales grading articulatory complexity (for movements and handshapes). Ten out of fifty one-handed signs included in the assessment tool (chosen according to the conceptual knowledge of three-year-old children) were compared to the description of the signs produced by our subjects. The analysis of the articulatory aspects of the errors produced by the children for these tell signs allowed us to identify three different patterns: 1) a preference for repeated movements, 2) the use of smaller joints was replaced by the use of larger joints, and 3) rotation movements were replaced by flexion/extension movements.
ln the first part of our talk, we will present a detailed portrait of the phonological assessment tool along with the different conception stages (the choice of lexical elements, the descriptive grids and the scales grading articulatory complexity). ln the second part, we will present the description and analysis of the tell signs produced by our subjects. Finally, we will discuss the question of invariance in the phonological categories of LSQ along with the problems that this question may cause for the analysis of the signs produced by our subjects.