2 ASL American Sign Language uses signs in visual or spatial form. Independent of EnglishDerived from French Sign Language5 parameters of signsHand configuration, place articulation, movement, orientation (palm up or down), and facial expression
3 Differences from Spoken Language Most spoken languages are arbitraryNo relationship between set of sounds and the object that the sound representsExample: catepillar (big word for small object)ASL is mainly iconicThe signs represent the objectsExample: tree (forearm upright with hand spread)Even though these signs may represent something, they are not always transparent in meaning.Klima and Bellugi performed a study where results showed that only 10% of iconic symbols were identified by hearing observers.
4 Differences cont.Frishberg claimed that the level of iconicity has declined in the past 200 years.To become more conventionalizedExample: Home used to be the signs eat followed by sleep. Now it is cupping your hand and touching two places on your cheek.ASL is now a “dual system of reference”Part iconic and part arbitrary
5 Differences cont.In spoken languages there are just 1 serial stream of phonemes (sequential)Sign Language can have multiple things going on at the same time (simultaneous)ASL has its own morphology (rules for creation of words), phonetics (rules for hand shapes), and grammar that are unlike spoken languages
6 Differences cont.Spoken languages have sound as basic “building block” for emotion or feelingSign language is visual so it relies on facial expressions and movement to convey emotion
7 Similarities to Spoken Language MorphologyDistinctions from first and second person are differentiated by movementEx: ask me- movement of sign towards self and ask you- movement of sign away from selfReciprocity is whether the subject is the cause or recipient of the object or if it is mutualEx: They pinched each other- sign with movement back and forth across signers bodyEnglish uses the distinction with pronouns
8 Similarities English uses subject-verb-object by word order ASL sometimes uses this with verbs that need a direct object, they are signed subject-object-verb.
9 Similarities ASL uses spatial processes to indicate certain nouns Ex: He said he hit him, and then fell down.In English this is ambiguous but because ASL uses these spatial processes, it is a clear interpretation.
10 Error similarities Thompson, Emmory, and Gollan Study Found the “tip of the finger” experiences to be similar to “tip of the tongue” experience.Signers were more likely to retrieve a target sign’s hand configuration and place of articulation than its movement.Results provide evidence that parameters are independent
11 Error similaritiesSlip of the tongue errors occur in sign language as well however slips of handEx: Deaf womanPoints to possibility that both types of languages take form because of basic cognitive limits on how or how much linguistic information may be structure or used.
12 SyntaxPrimarily conveyed through a combination of word order and non-manual featuresPro-drop and doesn’t have a capula (linking ‘to be’ verb)Ex: My hair is wet. Signs- MY HAIR WET.
13 Syntactic word order Places Adj. after noun Adv. Occur before verbs Ex: I have brown dog=DOG BROWN I HAVEAdv. Occur before verbsEx: I enter the house quietly= HOUSE I QUIET ENTERModal verbs come after main verb of clauseEx: I can go to the store for you.= FOR YOU, STORE I GO CAN
14 Syntax Negation Questions Subject pronoun tags Ex: I don’t have any dogs= DOG I HAVE NONEQuestionsEx: What are you eating?= YOU EAT [WHAT?]Raised eyebrows are used for rhetorical questionsSubject pronoun tagsEx: The boy fell down=BOY FALL
15 SyntaxConjunctions“and” does not exist in ASL instead there are two sentences combined by a short pause. “or” and “but” often signed with slight shoulder twistEx: I have two Cats and they are named Billy and Bob.= CAT TWO I HAVE. NAME B-I-L-L-Y B-O-B