Fingerspelling in American Sign Language: a case study of styles and reduction

Update item information
Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department Linguistics
Author Wager, Deborah Stocks
Title Fingerspelling in American Sign Language: a case study of styles and reduction
Date 2012-08
Description Fingerspelling in American Sign Language (ASL) is a system in which 26 onehanded signs represent the letters of the English alphabet and are formed sequentially to spell out words borrowed from oral languages or letter sequences. Patrie and Johnson have proposed a distinction in fingerspelling styles between careful fingerspelling and rapid fingerspelling, which appear to correspond to clear speech and plain speech styles. The criteria for careful fingerspelling include indexing of fingerspelled words, completely spelled words, limited coarticulation, a slow signing rate, and even rhythm, while rapid fingerspelling involves lack of indexing, increased dropping of letters, coarticulation, a faster signing rate, and the first and last letter of the words being held longer. They further propose that careful fingerspelling is used for initial uses of all fingerspelled words in running signing, with rapid fingerspelling being used for second and further mentions of fingerspelled words. I examine the 45 fingerspelled content words in a speech given by a Deaf native signer using quantitative measures, including a Coarticulation Index that permits comparing the degree of coarticulation in different words. I find that first mentions are more hyperarticulated than second mentions but that not all first mentions are hyperarticulated to the same extent and that topicality of the words may have bearing on this. I also show that the reduction of fingerspelled words is consistent with the reduction seen in repeated words in spoken English.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject ASL; Coarticulation; Fingerspelling; Signed language
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Deborah Stocks Wager 2012
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 3,241,132 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/1800
Source Original in Marriott Library Special Collections, HV15.5 2012 .W34
ARK ark:/87278/s69p3gfz
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-08-06
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 195489
Reference URL