The translucency values of Blissymbols as rated by typically developing Setswana learners /
Cross-cultural differences in the perception of pictorial material has long been established
and documented. In the Republic of South Africa, which is increasingly globalized, and
where it is appealing from financial, economic and training perspectives, the temptation is to
use Western-based AAC symbol systems and strategies in intervention with clients from
other language and cultural orientations.
The aim of this study was to determine the translucency ratings of specific Blissymbols as
rated by six-to seven-year-old Setswana-speaking children. A secondary aim was to
determine whether the ratings changed after second and third exposures in order to determine
the learnability of these symbols. A brief comparison was made between the results of the
current study and the results reported in the Quist et al., study (1998).
Thirty-five Setswana learners were exposed to 93 selected Blissymbols, based on a study by
Quist et al., (1998). A three-point semantic differential scale, consisting of three faces
accompanied each Blissymbol. Participants marked the face that best described his/her
perception of the specific symbol’s iconicity. This procedure was repeated over a period of
three days. The results indicated that the translucency ratings of the majority of the
Blissymbols ranged from moderate to high. The research further demonstrated significant
differences in translucency ratings between the first and second exposures, suggesting
learning of the symbols. A smaller difference was noted between Days 2 and 3. A
correlation in findings was noted between the current study and the Dutch and US studies
(Quist et al., 1998).
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC); Blissymbols; cultural issues;
comparative studies; iconicity; learnability; repeated exposure; Setswana language; symbol
systems; translation process; translucency.