Foreign Vocabulary in Sign Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Word Formation

Foreign Vocabulary in Sign Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Word Formation

Foreign Vocabulary in Sign Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Word Formation

Foreign Vocabulary in Sign Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Word Formation

Synopsis

This book takes a close look at the ways that five sign languages borrow elements from the surrounding, dominant spoken language community where each is situated. It offers careful analyses of semantic, morphosyntactic, and phonological adaption of forms taken from a source language (in this case a spoken language) to a recipient signed language. In addition, the contributions contained in the volume examine the social attitudes and cultural values that play a role in this linguistic process. Since the cultural identity of Deaf communities is manifested most strongly in their sign languages, this topic is of interest for cultural and linguistic reasons. Linguists interested in phonology, morphology, word formation, bilingualism, and linguistic anthropology will find this an interesting set of cases of language contact. Interpreters and sign language teachers will also find a wealth of interesting facts about the sign languages of these diverse Deaf communities.

Excerpt

Sign languages change and stabilize themselves within their own language grammars. Each sign language community has its own cultural history embodied by values and practices that influence language change and innovation, but each language is also used by a minority linguistic community that is integrated within a neighboring spoken language community. New words in sign languages (lexical innovations) are created by: language-internal means, such as lexicalization of productive classifier forms (e.g., AIRPLANE, ROCKET, HELICOPTER); language contact with other sign languages (e.g., the names of countries and cities); and language contact with the surrounding spoken language community.

The focus of this volume is language contact with the surrounding spoken language community, although examples of language contact with other sign languages are also included in the discussion of the case of . . .

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