Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor

J. Albert Bickford

Abstract

Deaf people have as great or greater need and desire to learn foreign languages as their hearing peers. Currently it is difficult for these learners to find courses and materials that are appropriate for their learning needs. Especially difficult is finding courses or learning materials for learning sign languages, which are more motivating and more accessible for Deaf learners than spoken languages. Additionally, evidence is presented that learning a foreign sign language can act as a bridge to learning a spoken language from the same region. The study presented in this thesis tested the efficacy of a computer-assisted vocabulary learning program designed for learners of signed languages. Participants using the experimental program were able to learn vocabulary from Chilean Sign Language more efficiently than studying vocabulary from a dictionary, the method most commonly available for learning foreign sign language vocabulary at this time. These statistically significant results show that even relatively simple programs can improve upon current vocabulary learning resources.

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