University of Edinburgh

Language and Accessibility Issues in Curriculum and Assessment plus workshops in Art & Design, Modern Languages, Environmental Studies

Presented in November 2005

Teaching a Foreign Language to Deaf Children

Angela Brown
Principal Teacher Sensory Service, Moray

Why Teach a Deaf child a foreign language when they have problems with English?

We will make it work

speakers learn english verb declension and irregular verbs without 

They learn the rules of their own language


  • All nouns have capital letters
  • Ich bin elf Jahre alt.
  • I am 11(years old)
  • Ich habe einen Bruder
  • I have a brother

In French it is the opposite but it has a similar effect.

Some proper Nouns donít have capital letters.

lundi Monday
líespagagnol Spanish
janvier January

Deaf children learn vocabulary through the foreign language

L’isolemont isolated
Récréation break
La valise case
Le voyage journey
Apotheke chemist
Donnerstag Thursday
Zuschlag supplement

Deaf children learn the importance of word order through the foreign language

Ich gehe mit meinem Hund spazieren
I go with my dog to walk
I take my dog for a walk

Je voudrais bien aller à la piscine
I would like good to go to the swimming pool
I would enjoy going to the swimming pool

Deaf Children do not hear the language so we have to be their ears

You have to adapt the language using speech sounds familiar to the child
These have to be individual.

Some suggestions that I use

drei drI 3
vier feer 4
fünf foonf 5
sechs sechs 6
neun noyn 9
zehn tsayn 10
trois trwa 3
quatre katri 4
cinq sangk 5
huit ooweet 8
neuf nif 9

This can be done for sentences even long passages
This is part of a speaking test I prepared with a student

You can also do for a speaking exercise.

Pendant les vacances je suis pongdang lay vakong zhi swee During the holidays I
allée en Espagne. alay ong espani went to Spain
Je suis allé a l’avion Zhi swee alay a lavee yong I went by plane.
Pendant le vol j’ai bravardé pondon li vol zhay bravarday During the flight I spoke
avec ma mère et ma soeur. avek ma mer ay ma sir to my mother and sister.
J’ai voyagé en famille. Zhay voyazhay ong fameeyi I went with my family.
Mes parents pensent que may parong pongsong ki My parents think
je suis trop jeune pour zhi swee tro zhin poor I am too young to
partir seule en vacances. parteer sil ong vakongs go on holiday myself.
J’aimerais le mieur aller en zhaymeray li mir alay ong I would prefer to go on
vacances avecmes copines vakongs avek may kopeen holiday with my friends
mais je n’ai pas assez à l’argent may zhi nay pa asay a larzhong but I don’t have enough money

Students learn about their own language

  • Verb Tenses
  • Regular and irregular verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Nouns
  • Word order
  • Vocabulary