Regional Sign Language Varieties in Contact: Investigating Patterns of Accommodation

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  • University of Haifa
  • UCL


Short-term linguistic accommodation has been observed in a number of spoken language studies. The first of its kind in sign language research, this study aims to investigate the effects of regional varieties in contact and lexical accommodation in British Sign Language (BSL). Twenty-five participants were recruited from Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, and Newcastle and paired with the same conversational partner. Participants completed a "spot-the-difference" task which elicited a considerable amount of contrasting regionally specific sign data in the participant-confederate dyads. Accommodation was observed during the task with younger signers accommodating more than older signers. The results are interpreted with reference to the relationship between language contact and lexical accommodation in BSL, and address how further studies could help us better understand how contact and accommodation contribute to language change more generally.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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