LINGUIST List 9.867

Thu Jun 11 1998

Disc: American Sign Language

Editor for this issue: Julie Wilson <>


  1. Fidelholtz James L., ASL Pronouns

Message 1: ASL Pronouns

Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1987 17:11:07 -0600 (CST)
From: Fidelholtz James L. <>
Subject: ASL Pronouns

	 Emily Bender's refutation of everybody's idea of
ASL pronouns seems to me to be off the mark. It may be because of
insufficient familiarity with ASL, but it's a little hard for me to accept
this use of deictics (pointing to a preassigned part of the signing space)
as 'phonology', except very metaphorically. The fact is that non-users of
ASL do virtually the same thing in the gestures which accompany their
speech, but in a way that is very individualized, while remaining, I'm
sure, within culturally (or linguistically?) set bounds. The studies I'm
familiar with of this latter phenomenon, while indicating the seeming
universality of the phenomenon, point out the individual aspects which
vary with the speaker, and these make it seem very unlikely to me that
they are analogous to the phonology of spoken language.

James L. Fidelholtz			e-mail:
Maestri'a en Ciencias del Lenguaje
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Beneme'rita Universidad Auto'noma de Puebla, ME'XICO
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