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LINGUIST List 17.2370

Tue Aug 22 2006

Diss: Phonology: Hansen: 'Recombinant Features for the Movements of...'

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Hannah Morales, Dissertation AbstractRecombinant Features for the Movements of American Sign Language


Message 1: Dissertation AbstractRecombinant Features for the Movements of American Sign Language
Date: 22-Aug-2006
From: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>
Subject: Dissertation AbstractRecombinant Features for the Movements of American Sign Language


Institution: Purdue University
Program: Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Kathryn Hansen

Dissertation Title: Recombinant Features for the Movements of American Sign Language

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Subject Language(s): American Sign Language (ase)

Dissertation Director:
Myrdene Anderson
Jackson Gandour
Nataliya Semchynska-Uhl
Ronnie Wilbur

Dissertation Abstract:

Recombinant distinctive features are economical to phonological systems,
yet the movement portion of American Sign Language (ASL) has not yet been
analyzed with such features. Such an analysis would require movements to
be considered as contrastive segments or units along the syntagmatic axis,
in contradistinction to non-movement segments or units. Few models of ASL
phonology have conceptualized movements in this way. To broaden the
perspective of sign language phonology, this study analyzes the movements
of ASL with the procedures of the phonemic method, which allows
identification of contrastive segments along the syntagmatic axis.
Oppositions among these segments then show dimensions of contrast, which,
in turn, reveal the distinctive features.

This analysis shows the movement segments to contrast according to Type of
movements, which consists of the Arm and Bipartiteness dimensions;
Direction of Movement, resulting from the Compactness and Extension
dimensions; Shape; Contact; and Handedness, which refers to one versus two
hands moving. Features along these dimensions recombine to form the
various contrastive movements. Phonemic statements have been written for
the movement types, listing allophonic variations with their conditioning
environments. This feature system clarifies certain movement behaviors
that have, until now, been unaccounted for and is a step toward uniting
signed and spoken language phonologies.



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