Publication details [#348]

Kaneko, Michiko and Rachel Sutton-Spence. 2012. Iconicity and metaphor in sign language poetry. Metaphor and Symbol 27 (2) : 107–130. 24 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
London: Psychology Press


This article explores how sign language poets use iconic superstructure as a concrete domain for metaphorical extension of signs. Illustrative examples are taken from an anthology of British Sign Language poetry available at Poetic features of and between individual poems are examined through a close reading approach. The analysis reveals that iconic superstructure in creative sign language can be found in different parameters of the sign: handshape, location, movement and palm orientation. A metaphorical interpretation is not inherent in the individual lexical signs but iconicity is. When iconic signs are placed into a poetic context a metaphorical meaning is produced.