Phonological and morphological faces
Disgust signs in German Sign Language
In this study, we verify the observation that signs for emotion related concepts are articulated with the congruent facial movements in German Sign Language using a corpus. We propose an account for the function of these facial movements in the language that also explains the function of mouthings and other facial movements at the lexical level. Our data, taken from 20 signers in three different conditions, show that for the disgust related signs, a disgust related facial movement with temporal scope only over the individual sign occurred in most cases. These movements often occurred in addition to disgust related facial movements that had temporal scope over the entire clause. Using the Facial Action Coding System, we found some variability in how exactly the facial movement was instantiated, but most commonly, it consisted of tongue protrusion and an open mouth. We propose that these lexically related facial movements be regarded as an additional layer of communication with both phonological and morphological properties, and we extend this proposal to mouthings as well. The relationship between this layer and manual lexical items is analogous in some ways to the gesture-word relationship, and the intonation-word relationship.
Keywords: phonology, non-manual features, facial expressions, mouthings
Published online: 24 November 2014
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