Predicate structures, gesture and simultaneity in the representation of action in British Sign language: Evidence from deaf children and adult

Kearsy A Cormier, Sandra D Smith, Zed Sevcikova

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    British Sign Language (BSL) signers use a variety of structures such as constructed action (CA), depicting constructions (DC), or lexical verbs to represent action and other verbal meanings. This study examines the use of these verbal predicate structures and their gestural counterparts, both separately and simultaneously, in narratives by deaf children with various levels of exposure to BSL (ages 5;1 to 7;5) and adult deaf native BSL signers. Results reveal that all groups used the same types of predicative structures, including children with minimal BSL exposure. However, adults used CA, DC and/or lexical signs simultaneously more
    frequently than children. These results suggest that simultaneous use of CA with lexical and depicting predicates is more complex than the use of these predicate structures alone and thus may take deaf children more time to master.
    Keywords: constructed action, classifier construction, depicting construction,British
    Sign Language, gesture, embodiment
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)370-390
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
    Volume18
    Issue number3
    Early online date5 May 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

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