Variation in handshape and orientation in British Sign Language: The case of the '1' hand configuration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • UCL

Abstract

This paper investigates phonological variation in British Sign Language (BSL) signs produced with a '1' hand configuration in citation form. Multivariate analyses of 2084 tokens reveals that handshape variation in these signs is constrained by linguistic factors (e.g., the preceding and following phonological environment, grammatical category, indexicality, lexical frequency). The only significant social factor was region. For the subset of signs where orientation was also investigated, only grammatical function was important (the surrounding phonological environment and social factors were not significant). The implications for an understanding of pointing signs in signed languages are discussed.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-91
Number of pages23
JournalLanguage & Communication
Volume33
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Phonology, Pointing, Sign language, Sociolinguistic variation