Moving beyond the common touchpoint - discovering language with congenitally deafblind people

  • Paul Hart

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis is about partnerships involving congenitally deafblind people journeying towards language. The focus will be on the first steps of that journey: how partnerships make initial moves away from the here-and-now. In order to understand how this happens in the tactile medium, this thesis will draw on Reddy’s model (2003 and 2008) of the expanding awareness of the objects of the other’s attention to analyse how both partners are able to share attention to self, what self does, what self perceives and finally what self remembers. Demonstrating that both partners can operate at each of these four stages in the tactile medium then allows me to focus particularly on the final stage, what self remembers, and ask: what happens within partnerships if either partner brings movements, gestures or signs that refer to people, objects, places or events not present? Do both partners come to comprehend and produce such referential movements, gestures and signs in forms perceivable by both? Such questions will be considered against the backdrop of the dialogical framework, since in any exploration of human interaction it makes no sense simply to consider it from one perspective. At all times throughout this thesis, the focus will be on partnership. This thesis raises a number of practical recommendations about approaches and attitudes to be adopted by non-deafblind partners if language is going to be an outcome for their partnerships with congenitally deafblind people. But it will also conclude with a number of theoretical questions about how we define language in the first place.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMary Zeedyk (Supervisor)


    • Congenital deafblindness
    • Communication
    • Language
    • Dialogicality

    Cite this