Developed by Mark Halley
Competencies Addressed: Message Coherence
Time Required for Activity: 15 mins
Objective: To learn about message coherence from an ASL text.
In this short video, Ms. Wanda Riddle, an American Sign Language researcher and educator, introduces herself.
You will watch a video in which Ms. Wanda Riddle, a faculty member in the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, introduces herself. In the video, Ms. Riddle uses very clear non-manual and manual markers to create sentence and topic boundaries.
Watch the Video: Watch the video in its entirety. Pay special attention to the non-manual and manual markers Ms. Riddle uses to create sentence and topic boundaries. Note which markers you see.
Check Your Work
Were you able to recognize how Ms. Riddle marked topic and sentence boundaries? Here is a list of non-manual and manual markers she used:
- 0:04 – Blinking after providing her name
- 0:09 – Blinking and lowering hands briefly after mentioning her family
- 0:15 – Blinking and lowering hands after naming her position
- 0:20 – Blinking after mentioning GSR classes
- 0:23 – Blinking after mentioning advanced ASL classes
- 0:29 – Blinking and lowering hands briefly after describing the crux of her teaching work
- 0:40 – Blinking and lowering hands after describing a program
- 0:44 – Blinking after providing her tenure on the program
- 1:01 – Blinking and lowering hands after describing course placement
- 1:04 – Hands lowered at length before discussing a new topic (her hobbies)
- 1:12 – Blinking and lowering hands briefly after mentioning each of her hobbies
- 1:13 – Widening eyes before beginning a new topic (her specialties)
- 1:34 – Blinking and lowering hands after mentioning each of her specialties and her field
Watch the Video Again
Watch the video again. Be sure that you identify each of these markers. Do you see how they make the video a cohesive and coherent text?
After watching the video a few times and becoming comfortable with both the content and Ms. Riddle’s signing style, try to copy sign her. When doing so, pay special attention to your manual and non-manual markers, and try to make your sentence and topic boundaries clear. After you are comfortable copy signing the video, practice introducing yourself in a similar fashion. Make your introduction a minute or two in length, and try to incorporate similar prosodic features to make it cohesive and coherent.