Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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Hearing children acquire discourse competences like storytelling through everyday interaction and are systematically supported in this process by adults. In contrast, deaf children in Germany often lack appropriate interlocutors with German Sign Language proficiency in family or school. The focus of our research is on narrative competences in deaf children and on the consequences of the lack of interlocutors on the acquisition of these competences. We carried out three studies to examine narrative skills of deaf children aged 8 to 17. We collected data from dyadic conversations with deaf adults and analyzed this data against the background of a cognitive approach to language acquisition and of conversation analysis. From a developmental perspective, our results indicate that the narrative competences of most of the tested non-native signing children have not developed as would be appropriate for their age. From an interactive perspective, deaf adults cooperate with the children in telling their stories by using different strategies.


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