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Letter Writing and Language Change

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Academic Paper


Title: Phonological Variation and Change in Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages: The location variable
Author: Adam C. Schembri
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.dcal.ucl.ac.uk/team/adam_schembri.html
Institution: La Trobe University
Author: David McKee
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Author: Rachel McKee
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/staff/rachel-mckee
Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Author: Sara Pivac
Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Author: Trevor Johnston
Institution: Macquarie University
Author: Della Goswell
Institution: Macquarie University
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Australian Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language
Abstract: In this study, we consider variation in a class of signs in Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages that includes the signs think, name, and clever. In their citation form, these signs are specified for a place of articulation at or near the signer's forehead or above, but are sometimes produced at lower locations. An analysis of 2667 tokens collected from 205 deaf signers in five sites across Australia and of 2096 tokens collected from 138 deaf signers from three regions in New Zealand indicates that location variation in these signs reflects both linguistic and social factors, as also reported for American Sign Language (Lucas, Bayley, & Valli, 2001). Despite similarities, however, we find that some of the particular factors at work, and the kinds of influence they have, appear to differ in these three signed languages. Moreover, our results suggest that lexical frequency may also play a role.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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