Publication details [#55861]

Mohr, Susanne. 2012. The visual-gestural modality and beyond: Mouthings as a language contact phenomenon in Irish Sign Language. Sign Language and Linguistics 15 (2) : 185–211.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


The article analyses cross-modal language contact between signed and spoken languages with special reference to the Irish Deaf community. This is exemplified by an examination of the phenomenon of mouthings in Irish Sign Language including its origins, dynamics, forms and functions. Initially, the setup of language contact with respect to Deaf communities and the sociolinguistics of the Irish Deaf community are discussed, and in the main part the article analyses elicited data in the form of personal stories by twelve native signers from the Republic of Ireland. The major aim of the investigation is to determine whether mouthings are yet fully integrated into ISL and if so, whether this integration has ultimately caused language change. Finally, it is asked whether traditional sociolinguistic frameworks of language contact can actually tackle issues of cross-modal language contact occurring between signed and spoken languages.