Diane Stoianov (UCL) - 2019-20 Students

Emerging Phonology, Emerging Sign: Two Cases from Brazil

This project focuses on the distribution of features within sign language phonology, namely the features within the main phonological domains of handshape, movement, and location, which combine to form meaningful signs. The project will form a comprehensive account and comparison of the features in these domains and their distribution in two emerging signing systems in Brazil, likely at different stages of phonological development. The results of the project will offer insight into how and when phonological organisation develops, providing two more signing systems to consider in light of the current understanding of emerging sign phonology, and the conception of the recombination of meaningless elements into meaningful ones as a statistical tendency rather than a innate feature of human language. It will also contribute to the urgent description of two endangered systems, of which no deaf child signers are known.

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