Learning about Message Coherence in “What’s The Best Age To Learn A Second Language?”

Best way to learn a second language videoDeveloped by Mark Halley

Competencies Addressed:  Message Coherence

Time Required for Activity: 30 mins

Objective:  To improve message coherence when interpreting a fast and challenging English text into American Sign Language.

In this video, Dr. Sapna Parikh discusses the process of language acquisition, focusing on second language acquisition for children and adults.


You will watch a video in which Dr. Sapna Parikh, a multimedia journalist, explains how children and adults acquire a second language. Considering what you already know about second language acquisition, predict some topics she might discuss, as well as some terms she might use.

Watch the Video

Watch the video in its entirety. Notice that Dr. Parikh speaks rather quickly about a variety of complex topics. To improve your comprehension and eventual interpretation of the video, create a discourse map of Dr. Parikh’s explanation. After creating your discourse mapwatching the video once, record yourself interpreting the video at 75% speed. Don’t worry if you miss some things. Instead, focus on message coherence in your target language production. Try to incorporate things like discourse markers, emphasis, and pausing.

Check Your Work

Watch your interpretation without the sound. Note any areas where your interpretation may be unclear due to prosodic inconsistencies or incoherent language use. For example, did you run several sentences into each other without giving viewers’ eyes a ‘break?’ Are there places where you could take a brief pause between concepts, such as by holding a sign in space or lowering your hands for a moment? When you compare your interpretation with your discourse map, do you notice any major omissions?

After watching your interpretation and identifying areas that may need attention, record yourself interpreting the video again. When interpreting it the second time, make a conscious effort to improve the coherence and clarity of your ASL production. Watch both of your recorded interpretations. Were you able to improve on the second attempt?

By | 2017-11-01T19:16:39+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Activity, Interpreter, Intermediate, 30 mins, Message Coherence|Comments Off on Learning about Message Coherence in “What’s The Best Age To Learn A Second Language?”