Variation and change in varieties of British Sign Language in England

Adam Schembri*, Rose Stamp, Jordan Fenlon, Kearsy Cormier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


British Sign Language (BSL) is the language used by the deaf community in the UK. In this chapter, we describe sociolinguistic variation and change in BSL varieties in England. We show how factors that drive sociolinguistic variation and change in both spoken and signed language communities are broadly similar. Social factors include, for example, a signer’s age group, region of origin, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Linguistic factors include assimilation and co-articulation effects. Some other factors, such as age of acquisition, however, appear unique to signing communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociolinguistics in England
EditorsNatalie Braber, Sandra Jansen
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781137562883
ISBN (Print)9781137562876
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • England
  • English
  • grammar
  • history
  • language
  • linguistics
  • literature
  • sociolinguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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