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Week 5 wrap-up

We are getting close to the end of the course and the content we have worked on this week has addressed some aspects of a level somewhat higher than the previous weeks. Here we summarize some aspects that have been detected as the course progresses.

The understandable shyness of learners. All of us who have begun to sign as adults have gone through similar processes regarding prevention of public exposure. It is true that working with sign languages involves physical exposure, because as we have seen facial expression is a constituent element of signs. We understand very well those of you who do not yet dare to send videos with your progress, but we encourage you to do so. Notice that the participants who have regularly been sharing videos in the discussions clearly have improved their learning level.

The level of knowledge of the course. The course contents are scheduled to reach about half the level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This level is standardized taking into account the European level, and is the one that is being used by European centers of education to adjust skills development in language learning (if you want specific information about the European Framework with respect to sign languages you can consult this document). We know therefore that the level of course contents is initial, but it is also demanding because learning a language also needs exposure time, and 6 weeks is a short time to “digest” the entire course content. Give it time and you will see that if you keep in contact with LSC you will gradually improve your level.

Measure your level of learning. Every week we program evaluation activities through tests and quizzes, which allow you to measure whether you have successfully achieved the learning goals. Anyway, a good way to measure your learning is revisiting videos and activities of previous weeks. We recommend you to do this exercise: go back to the videos on week 1 or 2, and you will see that you can understand them much better than you did when you saw them the week that were proposed to study.

The availability of course materials. As you know, FutureLearn offers you all course materials indefinitely. This means that you can go back to the course materials to refresh the contents. We are aware that a course of this nature also has the interest that you can follow it at your individual pace. Do not worry, therefore, if you have not followed the course every week, because you will always have the materials available for further consultation.

The formal progression of the course. Do not forget to press the “mark as complete” icon that you have at the end of each step. This will let you see your progress in the course, and at the same time will give you access to acquire a certificate if you wish it as well. Please note that in order to qualify for the certificate you must have completed a minimum of 50% of the activities, which are confirmed by the “mark as complete” icon.

A couple of final comments on aspects of content, which we have addressed in response to your comments, but which are also of general interest:

-The sign PERSON. Some of you asked if the sign PERSON is articulated after the sign of the person we are talking about (for instance in step 5.6, Alexandra signs PERSON after the sign ALEXANDRA). As you can see in the sentence, the verb BRING starts at the left zone on Alexandra’s side, where the sign PERSON is located. That is because the sign PERSON allows localizing in space those referents we are talking about, so we can express verbal agreement (to move verbs in space, from one side to another). We will work on verbal agreement next week, but it is very interesting (and very positive!) that you already noticed these important grammatical details.

The sign PERSON has another function which is to appear in the names for jobs. In step 5.11 you have seen that in many job names, the sign PERSON accompanies the action that goes with that job.

By the way! As well as MAN or WOMAN, to designate masculine or feminine, can be signed either before or after the name you want to mark with gender, the sign PERSON can also be signed both before and after the name.

- Verbs of motion. As we mentioned in the videos of the course, to establish a single order of the elements of the sentence is very difficult, as it may vary without affecting the meaning. The same is true in spoken language: we can express the same content in a different order of words. Anyway, in LSC the basic word order is to place the verb at the end of the sentence. However, when there is a verb of motion accompanied by a locative, the locative is placed at the end. For example:

  • JOANA MARTÍ BOOK GIVE ‘Joana gives a book to Martí.’ –> verb at the end

  • JOANA BOOK BRING ‘Joana brings the book.’ –> verb of motion, at the end

  • JOANA BOOK BRING BARCELONA ‘Joana brings the book to Barcelona.’ –> verb of motion, plus the locative at the end

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Catalan Sign Language: Speaking with Your Hands and Hearing with Your Eyes

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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