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Language Contact of Spoken and Signed Languages

  • By: Mandy M. McBroom
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The study of sociolinguistics focuses on the interaction of social and linguistic variables, and how they evolve in a specific setting. Social variables include age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and region, whereas linguistic variables include sound, handshapes, and syntactic structure. These factors intersect at the level of interaction between a deaf individual and a hearing individual, or even among two deaf individuals from different regions. The presence of both internal (handshapes) and external variables (age or ethnicity) is what sets the sociolinguistics of sign language apart from that of spoken languages. It has been observed that, just as expression of the same language differs regionally in the same country, so too does it differ among signers of a specific sign language. Contact sign language is ...

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