Pragmatic and Linguistic Constraints on Message Formulation A Cross-Linguistic Study of English and ASL Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1991
Pragmatic and Linguistic Constraints on Message Formulation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paula M. Brown
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
  • Susan D. Fischer
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
  • Wynne Janis
    University of British Columbia Vancouver
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Paula M. Brown, PhD, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Lyndon Baines Johnson Building, One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623.
  • Currently affiliated with Purdue University, Indiana
    Currently affiliated with Purdue University, Indiana×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1991
Pragmatic and Linguistic Constraints on Message Formulation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1346-1361. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1346
History: Received August 16, 1990 , Accepted March 27, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1991, Vol. 34, 1346-1361. doi:10.1044/jshr.3406.1346
History: Received August 16, 1990; Accepted March 27, 1991

This study provides a cross-linguistic replication, using American Sign Language (ASL), of the Brown and Dell (1987)  finding that when relaying an action involving an instrument, English speakers are more likely to explicitly mention the instrument if it is atypically, rather than typically, used to accomplish that action. Subjects were 20 hearing-impaired users of English and 20 hearing-impaired users of ASL. Each subject read and retold, in either English or ASL, 20 short stories. Analyses of the stories revealed production decision differences between ASL and English, but no differences related to hearing status. In ASL, there is more explicitness, and importance seems to play a more pivotal role in instrument specification. The results are related to differences in the typology of English and ASL and are discussed with regard to secondlanguage learning and translation

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Sheila Barden, who helped analyze the data from the hearing-impaired/English group of subjects. We also thank Marc Marschark and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. The research was supported in part by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in the course of an agreement with the United States Department of Education.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access