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Teaching L2 and Developing M2

See more: LESICO Conference 2017

Luigi Lerose, United Kingdom / Clauido Ferrara, Italy


This presentation is focused upon the process of teaching language to L2 learners. Having taught sign language to L2 learners for the past fifteen years, in my experience, learners appear to have difficulties with the nuances of the language. In particular the ability to identify differences in handshapes, and therefore lack the ability to make corrections. Having looked into this issue in more depth, I have identified that the difficulties appear to stem from the fact that the learners are being taught in a different modality, which therefore becomes their M2. sign language learners in the main have acquired language via auditory methods and this is therefore their first mode of learning. When learning sign language, tutors therefore must teach not only the Language, which becomes the learner’s L2, but also a different modality, which becomes the learner’s M2. This is not a first method of learning for the student. Therefore, the more time a tutor devotes to developing the student’s M2, the easier it will become for the student to acquire L2. Examples of activities to help students to develop their M2 could be ones which help students to expand their field of vision, identify slight variations in handshapes and differences in the movement of signs. The most beneficial exercises are ones which develop students linguistic knowledge on a phonological level. This, in turn, will help to develop their use of sign language in practice.