Edited by Diane Brentari and Ronnie B. Wilbur
[Sign Language & Linguistics 15:1] 2012
► pp. 128–146
Location in ASL
Insights from phonetic variation
Recent work on location variation led us to investigate whether phonetic effects influence the lowering of certain forehead located signs in American Sign Language. We found that signing speed and the location of adjacent signs did affect these forehead signs in ways that conform to general principals of coarticulation. In this paper, we use those results as a basis to illustrate additional approaches to the evaluation of the phonetics of location. In particular, we suggest that finer grained analyses of location values may provide insights into directionality of coarticulatory effects, that changes in body posture assist in the achievement of location values, and that kinematic data can be used to describe the use of the signing space in a global sense. Previous work in sign phonetics has provided a solid foundation and new research is progressing well, but there is much work yet to be done.
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