A major goal of this project is the study of how deaf children who use American Sign Language (ASL) acquire competence in English, a language that differs from their first in modality. Toward this goal, the project seeks to explore whether and how putatively English forms in everyday use of ASL might be a source of reading development. These forms include fingerspelling, a system of manually representing print words in English, as well as other signed forms related to fingerspelling such as initialized signs, loan signs and hybrid sign-fingerspelled compounds. The latter forms are categorized Foreign vocabulary, to distinguish them from the larger Native vocabulary of ASL which derives from gestural sources. The project will undertake a linguistic description of a variety of Foreign forms through studies with native adult signers. In addition, the project will study use of these forms by young native and nonnative signers whose competence in English is emerging. This two-pronged approach will accomplish both a broader description of the ASL lexicon and a broader description of language competence in signing deaf children. There are at least three important outcomes to this project: ( 1 ) an expansion of our understanding of sign languages to include vocabulary deriving from representational systems such as fingerspelling which exist not only in ASL but in a great many other sign languages; (2) understanding the role of representational systems in signing deaf children's acquisition of a language; that does not share the modality of their first language and (3) a broader account of reading ability in deaf children.