The Use of Conversational Repair Strategies by Children Who Are Deaf
Abstract

Abstract:

The investigation examined conversational repair strategies of deaf and hearing children in response to a partner's indication of communication breakdown. Eight profoundly deaf children who used total communication were compared with eight hearing children; the children were matched by age and sex. Each child was videotaped engaging in two language sample elicitation activities — one structured, one informal. An investigator initiated 10 stacked clarification request sequences consisting of three neutral requests — "Huh?"; "What?"; "I don't understand" — per sequence. Language samples from the sequences were transcribed; repair response types were coded. Frequencies and percentages of occurrence were derived for each request type in each repair category and for each language condition. Deaf and hearing children employed different repair strategies. Deaf children were more likely to revise utterances; hearing children were as likely to repeat utterances as to revise, and were more likely to provide cue repairs. No significant differences were noted when communication conditions were compared. When facing communication breakdown, deaf children persisted effectively in clarifying utterances.