Revista Brasileira de Educação Especial
Print version ISSN 1413-6538
CRATO, Aline Nascimento and CARNIO, Maria Silvia. Analysis of verbal inflection in the written production of deaf signers. Rev. bras. educ. espec. [online]. 2009, vol.15, n.2, pp. 233-250. ISSN 1413-6538. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-65382009000200005.
Written production of deaf students has been the focus of national and international studies due to recurrent cases of academic failure and to the problems teachers encounter as they attempt to ensure understanding of the written language for this specific population. National research emphasizes that deaf students present difficulties in writing in Portuguese, specifically in verb use. In order to better understand this process, this study aimed to assess verbal inflection for tense in deaf signers' written production and to observe the presence of other tense markers in their sentences. The study was carried out with twenty two subjects, ranging in age from 14 to 24 years, with an educational level varying from the 3rd to the 7th grade Elementary School level. Subjects were assessed concerning their knowledge of six action verbs in Brazilian Sign Language (using boards with pictures representing the actions) and then they were asked to write three sentences with each verb, one in the past tense, one in the present and one in the future tense. Analysis of data was carried out in terms of qualitative and quantitative results. The results showed that subjects presented difficulty in tense inflection, using predominantly the verb in the nominal form of the infinitive. Adverbs of time were the most frequent tense markers used in the sentences. Subjects enrolled in the most advanced grades presented better use of tense inflection and used other tense markers more frequently. The conclusion was that despite many years of schooling, most deaf students do not know how to use verbal inflection for tense in Portuguese. This fact demonstrates the need for rethinking practices of Portuguese teaching as a second language in order that deaf students may have the opportunity to master writing earlier, which will help them to participate more actively in society.
Keywords : Deafness; Written language; Brazilian sign language; Special Education.