Narrative Competences of Deaf Children - The Interaction between Sign Language Acquisition and Theory of Mind


The development of narrative competences of children requires the acquisition of linguistic as well as social and cognitive competences, and, more particular, the development of a theory of mind. Such relationships are clearly indicated by the kind of deficits observable in signed narratives by deaf children of hearing parents, who have only limited access to spoken language as well as sign language. We presume that deficits in interaction cause linguistic problems as well as cognitive difficulties, affecting the processing of the events to be told and impeding adequate orientation towards the interlocutor. The study will intend to investigate which domains of competence of these children are affected in comparison to children of deaf parents with native access to German Sign Language (DGS), differentiating between problems in narrating that belong to the linguistic domain and problems that belong to the cognitive domain. Furthermore, we will investigate if limited access to verbal interaction causes only a delay in the acquisition of these competences or if different acquisition patterns exist, exploring possible interdependencies between the linguistic and the cognitive domain. In order to answer these questions, we will carry out a cross-sectional study involving four different age cohorts. Narrative data of severely hearing impaired children of hearing parents and of deaf parents will be collected and tests will be carried out concerning different domains of theory of mind competences. The narrative data and the theory of mind data will be analysed in relation to each other. On the basis of the results, didactic consequences for bilingual education programmes for deaf children and, more generally, educational programmes for children with limited experience in linguistic interaction will be outlined.


Principal Investigators
Becker, Claudia Prof. Dr. (Details) (Sign Language Pedagogy and Audio Pedagogy)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2014
End date: 04/2016

Last updated on 2020-01-06 at 16:52