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Spatial Strategies in Descriptive Discourse: Use of Signing Space in Swedish Sign Language
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, Sign Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3150-1492
2008 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study is to investigate the use of signing space, especially the potential relationship between the structure and function of the discourse. Data comes from a ten minute long, descriptive Swedish Sign Language monologue, where the signer retells parts of an autobiography. A native signer, who has not read the book, is sitting next to the camera as the addressee. This video recording was originally made for testing the interpreting skills of a group of professional sign language interpreters, and the signer did not know at the time that her signing would be the object of analysis. As the book she has read has both a main character and several other animate referents, the discourse contains frequent reference to these persons, and to their feelings, opinions, actions, and interactions. The general theoretical framework is that of Cognitive Linguistics, in particular Real Space blending (Liddell, 2003). The discourse is characterized by a complex interaction between discourse content and the signer’s use of signing space. Providing background and orienting material regarding the author, the signer uses the area to her left for meaningfully directed signs. In contrast, rendering the life of the author, as described in the book, the area in front of the signer is used for meaningfully directed signs. In sequences told from narrator’s perspective, in which signs are typically directed to the left, token blends dominate. In sequences with rapid switching between narrator’s perspective and discourse character’s perspective, signs are directed forward. Such sequences also abound with rapid switching between token blends and surrogate blends. Moreover, in token spaces containing more than one token, the tokens are frequently stacked in one area in signing space, rather than on opposite sides. Surrogates turn out to be used not only for constructed dialogue, but also for constructed action and thought, even for referents that are non-specific. The functionality of indexing in this discourse will also be discussed in some detail in this volume.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dublin: Trinity College, Centre for Deaf Studies , 2008. , 80 p.
Series
CDS/SLSCS monograph, ISSN 2009-1680 ; 2
Keyword [en]
signing space, descriptive discourse, Cognitive Linguistics, Real Space blending, surrogate blends, token blends, directed signs
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Sign Language
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-26065DiVA: diva2:202334
Available from: 2010-04-28 Created: 2009-03-09 Last updated: 2013-11-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Studies in Swedish Sign Language: Reference, Real Space Blending, and Interpretation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Studies in Swedish Sign Language: Reference, Real Space Blending, and Interpretation
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis comprises four separate studies of the same material: a ten-minute Swedish Sign Language monologue. Study I describes the form, meaning, and use of the sign INDEX-c, a pointing toward the chest traditionally described as a first person pronoun. It is argued that INDEX-c is used not only with specific reference to the signer or a quoted signer, but also with non-specific reference. Contrary to what has been reported, INDEX-c is used not only for constructed dialogue, but also in constructed action. The analysis reveals two separate forms, as well, labeled as reduced INDEX-c and distinct INDEX-c, respectively. Study II describes the activities of the non-dominant hand when it is not part of a two-handed sign. A continuum is suggested, moving from different rest positions that do not contribute to the discourse content, via mirroring of the dominant hand, for example, to instances where the non-dominant hand produces signs of its own while the dominant hand remains inactive, i.e. dominance reversal. Several of the activities of the non-dominant hand, including the four types of buoys that are described, help structure the discourse by indicating the current topic. Study III uses Mental Space Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory to describe the use of signing space for reference. A correlation is shown between discourse content and the area in the signing space toward which signs are meaningfully directed, and also between these directions and which types of Real Space blends the signer mainly uses: token blends or surrogate blends. Finally Study IV looks in more detail at three segments of the discourse and their Real Space blend structure. An initial analysis of eight interpretations into spoken Swedish is also conducted, focusing on whether preselected content units (discourse entities and relations) are identified. A large number of Real Space blends and blended entities are argued to result in less successful renditions measured in terms of preselected content units.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, 2010. 21 p.
Keyword
Swedish Sign Language, INDEX-c, first person pronoun, non-dominant hand, buoys, Real Space blending, token blend, surrogate blend, signing space, constructed dialogue, constructed action, sign language interpreting
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Sign Language
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37026 (URN)978-91-7447-014-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-21, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
För att köpa boken skicka en beställning till exp@ling.su.se/ To order the book send an e-mail to exp@ling.su.seAvailable from: 2010-04-28 Created: 2010-02-04 Last updated: 2014-05-26Bibliographically approved

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