Hearing adults produced signed and spoken monologues under conditions of quiet or 80 dB SPL of noise and with their vision unobstructed or obstructed. Their signs were videotaped and a random sample of 24 frames was analyzed in each condition through a computer program that determined the overall distance of the hand from a marker placed on the signer's torso. Vocal intensity was digitized from the tape recordings and analyzed by computer for 1 min of continuous speech in each condition. The visual obstruction had no effect either on the distance of the signs or on the vocal intensity of their speech. The subjects increased vocal intensity by about 55% when the noise was introduced (the usual Lombard effect), but the noise had no effect on the distance of the signs. Sign performance was not influenced by visual feedback, and sign and speech were independent communication systems, even in bilingual speaking and signing subjects.
KEY WORDS: sign language, communication, Lombard effect, sign measurement
Submitted on January 13, 1992
Accepted on June 2, 1992