ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop on Experimental Linguistics (ExLing 2008)

Athens, Greece
August 25-27, 2008

A Comparison of Taiwanese Sign Language and Manually Coded Chinese: Word Length and Short-Term Memory Capacity

Hsiu-Tan Liu (1), Chin-Hsing Tseng (2), Chun-Jung Liu (1)

(1) Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan, R.O.C.
(2) National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Taiwanese Sign Language (TSL) is the natural language among deaf communities in Taiwan. Manually Coded Chinese (MCC) is the official instructional language. Previous studies have shown that the deaf students have great difficulty in comprehending stories in MCC, plausibly due to greater word length in MCC, which in turn may impair recall of MCC words. In Study I, deaf and hearing signers produced signs for 100 words in both MCC and TSL, and the word length was calculated for each sign pairs. It was found that MCC words were greater in length than the TSL words, whether produced by a hearing or a deaf signer. In Study II, the short-term memory capacity in the deaf signers was compared between word lists in TSL and in MCC. The participants were 44 senior high students in the deaf school and 20 deaf adults. The results showed that for deaf students and adults, the shortterm memory capacity was inferior for the MCC list than for the TSL list, confirming our hypothesis.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Liu, Hsiu-Tan / Tseng, Chin-Hsing / Liu, Chun-Jung (2008): "A comparison of Taiwanese sign language and manually coded Chinese: word length and short-term memory capacity", In ExLing-2008, 141-144.