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Natural sign language and proficiency in learning Setswana sign language and curriculum content among students with hearing impairment in Botswana

MUKHOPADHYAY, Sourav
SISON, Waldetrudes
2006

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Language as 'mother tongue' is the first language in which one can express oneself fully as a tool for communication. Children acquire the mother tongue with seeming ease. Language theorists have offered various explanations about how children acquire and learn how to use language. The common element in the explanations is the innate force or power within the child and the opportunities for communication within the environment. Children with hearing impairment do not learn oral language the way it is acquired by hearing children. Because of the impairment, gestural communication which is the forerunner of language acquisition in normal children, are elaborated and end up as homesign or self-styled communication systems. This paper explores the relationship between homesign language as mother tongue of children with hearing impairment and their performance in learning the academic subjects and the second sign language formally taught in school

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