Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/25289

Merging documentation and pedagogy in Hawai`i Sign Language research

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Title: Merging documentation and pedagogy in Hawai`i Sign Language research
Issue Date: 12 Mar 2015
Description: Hawai`i Sign Language (HSL) is a critically endangered language isolate. Around 40 users have been identified, all elderly, many over the age of 80. The language has been moribund for some time. No identified users are monolingual in HSL, rather they also know American Sign Language (ASL) and use ASL (sometimes with a few HSL vocabulary items) as their preferred form of communication. It is very difficult to elicit spontaneous use of HSL for extended periods of time, without the signers code-switching to ASL.

In late 2013, a project was begun to document and conserve HSL with the ultimate goal of revitalization of HSL. Given the problems in eliciting free conversational data in HSL, initial project efforts have focused on the elicitation of sign vocabulary in the context of sign sentences. Sign vocabulary and signed sentence elicitation are based on language teaching materials and dictionaries that have proved successful for the documentation and teaching of other endangered sign languages, e.g. Ho Chi Minh City Sign Language (HCMCSL)(1,2), but are modified for the appropriate cultural context relevant for HSL. Once elicited HSL data are analyzed, they are immediately incorporated into handbooks for teaching/learning HSL and companion dictionaries for each handbook, similar to what has been done for HCMCSL.

Thus, the documentation project on HSL, has attempted to merge documentation with pedagogy in all of its aspects. The presentation proposed herein will give concrete examples of such mergers, will provide audience members full access to materials developed as part of the project, and will also provide information on a new, experimental course entitled “Hawai`i Sign Language: Documentation, Conversation, and Revitalization” which gives students the opportunity to learn about the structure of HSL, the opportunity to develop language skills in HSL, and the opportunity to do their own research on HSL with the goals of expanding the extent of HSL documentation and the further development of HSL dictionary and teaching materials.

1The HCMCSL Production Team. 2007a. Ho Chi Minh City Sign Language: Student Handbook 1. Bien Hoa, Dong Nai: Project on Opening University Education to Deaf People in Viet Nam Through Sign Language Analysis, Teaching, and Interpretation.

2_____________. 2007b. Ho Chi Minh City Sign Language: Companion Dictionary to Student Handbook 1. Bien Hoa, Dong Nai: Project on Opening University Education to Deaf People in Viet Nam Through Sign Language Analysis, Teaching, and Interpretation.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/25289
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)



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