By R. Sutton-Spence
This new research is a massive contribution to signal language research and to literature mostly, taking a look at the advanced grammatical, phonological and morphological platforms of signal language linguistic constitution and their function in signal language poetry and function. Chapters take care of repetition and rhyme, symmetry and stability, neologisms, ambiguity, subject matters, metaphor and allusion, poem and function, and mixing English and signal language poetry. significant poetic performances in either BSL and ASL - with emphasis at the paintings of the deaf poet Dorothy Miles - are analysed utilizing the instruments supplied within the book.
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Extra info for Analysing Sign Language Poetry
The overall pattern of the handshapes in the whole poem is: HSALFFLASHHSALFFLASHHSALF. The first three sign sequences of the poem may be roughly glossed as follows, and the handshape of each sign is given in brackets: TWO-PEOPLE (H) CAN (S) HOW (A) RUN (L) NOTHING (F) CATCH-SIGHT (F) ZOOM-OFF (L) DISAPPEAR-INTO-DISTANCE (A) GONE (transition across sign space) (S) BUMP-INTO-TWO-PEOPLE (H) TWO-PEOPLE-CLOSE-UP (H) OH-NO! (S) NOT (A) ME (L) WOWSKILL-CAN-DO! (F). In these three sequences, the handshapes of the signs spell the word ‘flash’ successively, first in reverse, then forward, then in reverse again.
The movement path in several key signs in Christmas Magic (p. 241) follows a curving ‘J’ shape through space. This allows the signs to have general connotations with the idea of a Christmas stocking which has a ‘J’ shape in reality and whose sign is made with a ‘J’-shaped movement. These signs include the established sign STOCKING itself and also the productive neologisms MAGIC-SHIVERS-UP-ARMS, FEEL-BUMPS-DOWNSTOCKING, STOCKING-LIMPLY-HANGING, GOOD-THROUGH-TIME, SANTA’S-SLEIGH, RUN-DOWNSTAIRS and MAGIC-FOLLOWS-MEDOWNSTAIRS.
5 STILL-THERE GOOD-THROUGHTIME SANTA’S-SACK Fig. 6 KNOW AT-LAST Fig. 7 CHRISTMAS 30 Analysing Sign Language Poetry flow of signs. Additionally, each sign adds to connotations of things related to Christmas that are positive and good. CLENCHED-FISTS of excitement (excitement ϭ good) change to KNOW (knowledge ϭ good, and Å ϭ good), to AT-LAST ( ϭ achievement ϭ good, and Å ϭ good), to CHRISTMAS, the central topic of the poem (Fig. 7). In Christmas List (p. 240) we see a different use of repetitive handshapes.