Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language
Publication Year: 2001
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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Sociolinguistics emerged prominently in the 1960s, celebrating the heterogeneity of language based not only on linguistic constraints but also on variation occasioned by the race, ethnicity, age, gender, and social status of its speakers. Before that, the task of the linguist was a whole lot ...
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This book is the seventh volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series. It represents the culmination of a seven-year project on sociolinguistic variation in American Sign Language (ASL) funded by the National Science Foundation (SBR # 9310116 and SBR # 9709522). The ...
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The 1960s witnessed the development of two subfields in linguistics, the systematic study of language variation, pioneered by William Labov (1963, 1966), and the scientific study of sign languages, developed initially by William Stokoe (1960). The theoretical framework and rigorous methodology of Labov’s early studies on Martha’s Vineyard and in New ...
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The study of language variation requires that we collect and analyze data from a representative sample of the community whose language we are studying. In this chapter we describe how we accomplished these goals. Specifically, we describe the selection of the communities where the research was carried out, participant selection, the role of community-based contact ...
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In order to understand the nature of sociolinguistic variation in the American Deaf community, we need to understand the sociohistorical context in which it occurs, especially the parts of this context that concern the residential schools for deaf children and the social and political organizations formed by deaf people. Researching the historical language ...
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This chapter presents the quantitative analyses of the first of three target phonological variables: signs produced with a 1 handshape. We explain how the data were coded and present the results of the quantitative analyses of linguistic and social factors. Overall, the analyses presented here and in the following chapter show that phonological variation in ...
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In this chapter we turn our attention to variation in the location of signs and examine two additional variables: the sign deaf and a class of signs represented by the verb know. ...
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In chapters 4 and 5 we looked at the patterns of variation exhibited by three phonological variables: 1 handshape signs, deaf, and the location of signs represented by know. We saw that all three can be considered classic sociolinguistic variables, in that the variation that they exhibit correlates with both linguistic and social factors. That all three variables ...
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We now turn our attention to one kind of syntactic variation, variable subject pronoun presence, or null subject variation, in plain verbs. ASL verbs are usually considered to fall into three main categories: plain verbs, pointing or indicating verbs, and spatial-locative (or classifier) predicates. In the latter two categories, characteristics of the verb forms ...
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As we explained in chapter 2, the last part of each data collection session consisted in showing the participants a set of 34 stimuli—mostly pictures but fingerspelling in some cases—to elicit their responses. The selection of the 34 stimuli was motivated by earlier work on lexical variation in ASL, work that we described in chapter 1. We were interested in reexamining ...
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We now return to the two basic research questions that structured the original proposal written to the National Science Foundation in 1993, questions that guided the progress of the project and that open this volume: (1) Can the internal constraints on variation such as those defined and described in spoken languages be identified and described for variation ...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 42 tables, 14 figures
Publication Year: 2001