The Iconicity and Learnability of Blissymbols: A Study of the Interpretations of Blissymbols by Kenyan Children with diverse Language Backgrounds
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
There have been few studies conducted on how children from other than Western populations perceive and learn different graphic symbol sets or systems, especially on how children from poverty contexts learn graphic alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) symbols. Multicultural research is necessary in order to advance and to ensure the quality of the service of AAC for culturally and linguistically diverse AAC users. In the present study the authors strive to describe the learnability of the Blissymbol system in a non-western culture using a semiotic theoretical framework. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the iconicity and learnability of the Blissymbol system for Kenyan children with two different language backgrounds, Swahili and English. This was done in an attempt to investigate potential cultural and linguistic influences of the interpretation and learnability of the Blissymbol. The design and test material was adopted from a previous study (Jennische & Zetterlund, 2012). In the present study, 127 typically developed children in the age six to seven in class one or two in primary school, both from private and public schools, participated. The children had never before encountered Bliss. The children were asked to interpret single Bliss-words and compound Bliss-words, first spontaneously through giving free proposals and then after being given an instructive explanation. The test results were analyzed on a group level and compared between the different groups (age, class and language background). The results show that there was a significant improvement between the pretest and the posttest for all children in the different groups. This indicates that the Blissymbols used in this study had a generally low transparency but a generally high translucency. The results also indicate a generally high learnability and that the children were aided by the instructive explanation. Furthermore, there were significant differences between the different groups, where the children from class two performed better than children from class one and where the English-speaking children performed better than the Swahili-speaking children overall. Age was not significant. The results also indicate that there were differences in how the children interpreted the symbols, but that there were similarities within the specific groups. Further, this indicates that the symbols were interpreted in a similar way by children that belonged to the same age, language and socioeconomic background.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 53 p.
Bliss, AAC, non-western culture, Kenya, children, semiotics, iconicity, learnability, transparency, translucency
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107544ISRN: LIU-IKE/SLP – A --14/014-- SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-107544DiVA: diva2:725666
Subject / course
Master (one year thesis)/Speech and Language Pathology
2014-05-16, Karl Johan, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Aanstoot, Janna, Universitetslektor
Rautakoski, Pirkko, t.f professor i logopedi