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Studies in Swedish Sign Language :Reference, Real Space Blending, and Interpretation

by Nilsson, Anna-Lena, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis comprises four separate studies of the same material: a ten-minute Swedish Sign Language monologue. Study I describes the form, meaning, and use of the sign INDEX-c, a pointing toward the chest traditionally described as a first person pronoun. It is argued that INDEX-c is used not only with specific reference to the signer or a quoted signer, but also with non-specific reference. Contrary to what has been reported, INDEX-c is used not only for constructed dialogue, but also in constructed action. The analysis reveals two separate forms, as well, labeled as reduced INDEX-c and distinct INDEX-c, respectively. Study II describes the activities of the non-dominant hand when it is not part of a two-handed sign. A continuum is suggested, moving from different rest positions that do not contribute to the discourse content, via mirroring of the dominant hand, for example, to instances where the non-dominant hand produces signs of its own while the dominant hand remains inactive, i.e. dominance reversal. Several of the activities of the non-dominant hand, including the four types of buoys that are described, help structure the discourse by indicating the current topic. Study III uses Mental Space Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory to describe the use of signing space for reference. A correlation is shown between discourse content and the area in the signing space toward which signs are meaningfully directed, and also between these directions and which types of Real Space blends the signer mainly uses: token blends or surrogate blends. Finally Study IV looks in more detail at three segments of the discourse and their Real Space blend structure. An initial analysis of eight interpretations into spoken Swedish is also conducted, focusing on whether preselected content units (discourse entities and relations) are identified. A large number of Real Space blends and blended entities are argued to result in less successful renditions measured in terms of preselected content units.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Languages and linguistics; Sign language; Swedish Sign Language; INDEX-c; first person pronoun; non-dominant hand; buoys; Real Space blending; token blend; surrogate blend; signing space; constructed dialogue; constructed action; sign language interpreting; Sign Language; teckenspråk

ISBN:978-91-7447-014-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2010

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