A phonological diachronic study on Portuguese sign language of the Azores

Mara Moita, Ema Gonçalves, Conceição Medeiros, Ana Mineiro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies on diachronic variation of sign languages provide data that allow for a more robust description of sign language structure and features, and a better comprehension of the emerging patterns of new sign languages. Following the phonological proposals for sign languages by Liddell and Johnson (1989) and Sandler (1989, 2008), and considering the literature on phonological variation, the present study analyzes the phonological changes of Portuguese Sign Language signs from the Azores archipelago, where it was introduced thirty years ago. This exploratory analysis is a comparative study between the attested signs in Silva and Funk (1999) and the contemporary signs elicited as part of this study. The results show that most of the analyzed signs were replaced by new signs, or partial changes occurred in their articulation. These changes were predominantly in the hand configuration parameter, especially in certain selected fingers and finger position features; this brings forward the role that hand configuration plays in the stabilization of signs. Upon completion of the analysis, crystallization patterns, such as the homogenization of pronouns, also became evident.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-162
Number of pages25
JournalSign Language Studies
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

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