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Academic Paper

Title: Sign language contact and interference: ASL and LSM
Author: David Quinto-Pozos
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: American Sign Language
Mexican Sign Language
Abstract: This work concerns structural outcomes of contact between Mexican Sign Language (LSM) and American Sign Language (ASL). A brief description of the social environment that leads to contact between LSM and ASL along the U.S.–Mexico border is provided, and two claims are advanced: (i) Contact between sign languages can exhibit characteristics of contact between spoken languages (e.g., interference), but there are also unique features of signed-language contact due to the ability to produce elements from a signed and spoken language simultaneously; and (ii) examples of interference from one sign language in the production of the other are sometimes systematic and predictable based on the signer's linguistic background, but cases of lack of interference also provide evidence that some signers are able to employ subtle articulatory differences, either consciously or not, when producing signs from the sign language that was learned after they acquired their first sign language.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 37, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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