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New Zealand Sign Language L6: Context elaborations

Students are expected to communicate information, ideas, and opinions, and express and respond to personal ideas and opinions in areas of most immediate relevance. The content and language of the communication is targeted beyond the immediate context to include the expression of opinions. Students are expected to understand and produce a variety of text types.

Example 1: Deaf Club

Deaf Club film 

Context and text type

Aroha is a hearing person, conversing with Luca, a Deaf person. The conversation is about Aroha’s first time at Deaf club. They discuss Aroha’s experiences and Luca offers to go with her next time.

Text type

Informal signed conversation. Interactive.

Examples showing how the student is:

Communicating information, ideas, and opinions beyond the immediate context

Aroha uses a yes/no question to gather ideas:

  • Nod GREAT IX-me LOVE GO IX-loc AGAIN. INTERESTING SEE DEAF WORLD.

Luca asks a question to initiate the discussion:

  • FINE++ PROBLEM

Luca gives information about Deaf club and Deaf culture:

  • IX-you MEAN LIKE WAVE OR   

In response to Aroha’s question, Luca says that she will go to the Deaf club with her:

  • OH IX-you ONLY  HAVE+++ MAYBE NEXT TIME WE-two GO-TO IX-loc INTRODUCE MEET++ DEAF PEOPLE

NZSL features such as negation, affirmation, pronouns and locatives (through pointing), facial expression and grammar, correct handshapes, appropriate signing space, body language, non-manual signs and different forms of questioning have a bearing on the overall effectiveness of the communication and must be taken into consideration.

OH IX-you ONLY  HAVE+++ MAYBE NEXT TIME WE-two GO-TO IX-loc INTRODUCE MEET++ DEAF PEOPLE

Aroha is constructing her understanding of Deaf culture as they converse:

IX-me LEARN HOW DEAF ATTENTION

Expressing and responding to personal ideas and opinions

Aroha expresses her enjoyment at having had a new experience, which is reinforced by facial expression to show emotion:

  • YES EVERY-ONE NICE FRIENDLY IX-they PATIENT WHEN IX-me  IX-them

Aroha describes a new experience using adjectives:

  • AWESOME EXPERIENCE. AMAZING.

Luca responds to Aroha by reiterating her personal viewpoint:

  • SIGN LANGUAGE VISUAL HANDS CHATTING-away
  • YES KNOW++ POSS-tend DEAF SIGN

Communicating appropriately in different situations

Aroha uses a formulaic expression to end the conversation:

YES IX-me LOOK-FORWARD SEE-you NEXT WEEK

Questions are used to maintain the flow of the conversation:

  • FINE++ PROBLEM

Aroha uses clear facial expression to match her views:

LAST SATURDAY NIGHT IX-me FIRST TIME WENT IX-loc DEAF CLUB. IX-me SURPRISE

Understanding how language is organised for different purposes

The text illustrates the use of short words, phrases and simple sentence patterns which are a feature of conversational exchanges:

  •  

Luca shows respect for Aroha’s lack of cultural knowledge:

  • OH IX-you ONLY  HAVE+++ MAYBE NEXT TIME WE-two GO-TO IX-loc INTRODUCE MEET++ DEAF PEOPLE

Luca uses a formulaic greeting:

  • HI HOW-ARE-YOU

Aroha gives a precise statement about her new learning at the Deaf club:

  • IX-me LEARN HOW DEAF ATTENTION

Both signers use non-manual signals to show meaning/opinion. For example to modify a level of emotion like surprise:

  • LAST SATURDAY NIGHT IX-me FIRST TIME WENT IX-loc DEAF CLUB. IX-me SURPRISE

Transliterations based on English forms sometimes enter a conversation in NZSL. As the flow of communication is not interrupted, Aroha, a learner of NZSL, clearly understands what Luca says.

  •  in NZSL compared with HOW ARE YOU, which is based on spoken English. Luca uses formulaic colloquial expressions that are typically used in informal conversations and are specific to NZSL:
  • OH IX-you ONLY  HAVE+++

Opportunities for developing intercultural communicative competence

Students could research and compare the Deaf community with their own or another culture. They could make connections with comparable aspects of other languages and cultures known to them. What similarities and differences can they identify between their own culture and that of Deaf people? What different technologies are used by Deaf people?

Students could explore their own experiences of being in an unfamiliar cultural setting: visiting a marae or a foreign country. How did they find out expected behaviours? What made behaving appropriately easy or difficult? How might students use the knowledge they have gained to communicate respectfully within the Deaf community?

Students could explore examples of NZSL language features in conversational texts, especially greetings and how conversations are sustained and ended. Students could compare these findings to other known languages.

Last updated January 20, 2017



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