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The encoding of simultaneity in children's British Sign Language narratives

Morgan, G. (2002). The encoding of simultaneity in children's British Sign Language narratives. Sign Language and Linguistics, 5(2), pp. 131-165. doi: 10.1075/sll.5.2.04mor


Narrative discourse in BSL is first analyzed in an adult signer by describing how fixed and shifted sign space is used for reference and the encoding of simultaneity. Although children as young as 4 years old use parts of these sign spaces in isolation their combined use in encoding simultaneity in narrative is a major hurdle to achieving full mastery of British Sign Language (BSL). The paper describes the developmental trends in encoding simultaneity in BSL ‘frog story’ narratives from a group of 12 signing children, aged 4; 3 to 13; 4. We focus on the gradual control of reference in sign space. A transcription framework for recording this aspect of sign discourse is also outlined. The results point away from the role of iconicity and instead toward general patterns in narrative development as driving the organization of sign space and reference.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Contact publisher for further reprinting or re-use.
Publisher Keywords: narrative development, British Sign Language, simultaneity, sign spaces, frog story
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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