One hand or two? Nativisation of fingerspelling in ASL and BANZSL

K. Cormier, A. Schembri, M.E. Tyrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we focus on the nativisation process as a fully fingerspelled word or fingerspelled letters become a fingerspelled loan or initialised sign. Previous models of nativisation (e.g., Brentari & Padden 2001) have described forms derived from one-handed fingerspelling systems; however, fingerspelling can be either one- or two-handed. Thus we propose an extension of Brentari & Padden’s model that accounts for varying degrees of nativisation based on the extent to which native parameters (i.e., native handshapes, movements, locations and native combinations of the three) exist within a given sign. According to the extended model, there are five main criteria for delineating nativisation — the extent to which: (1) forms adhere to phonological constraints of the native lexicon, (2) parameters of the forms occur in the native lexicon, (3) native elements are added, (4) non-native elements are reduced (e.g., letters lost), and (5) native elements are integrated with non-native elements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-44
JournalSign Language and Linguistics (Online)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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