Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 3, 2018

Sign-speaking: The structure of simultaneous bimodal utterances

Ulrike Zeshan and Sibaji Panda

Abstract

We present data from a bimodal trilingual situation involving Indian Sign Language (ISL), Hindi and English. Signers are co-using these languages while in group conversations with deaf people and hearing non-signers. The data show that in this context, English is an embedded language that does not impact on the grammar of the utterances, while both ISL and Hindi structures are realised throughout. The data show mismatches between the simultaneously expressed ISL and Hindi, such that semantic content and/or syntactic structures are different in both languages, yet are produced at the same time. The data also include instances of different propositions expressed simultaneously in the two languages. This under-documented behaviour is called “sign-speaking” here, and we explore its implications for theories of multilingualism, code-switching, and bilingual language production.

Funding statement: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme; we are grateful for funding of this research under the project “Multilingual behaviours in sign language users” (MULTISIGN), Grant Agreement number 263647.

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the Indore Bilingual Academy for facilitating our research on their campus. Most importantly, we would like to thank our participants Neha Vishwarup, Monica Punjabi Verma, Megha Gupta, and Gaurav Verma for their generous contribution to our research. Finally, we are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for comments on the initial version of this article.

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Supplemental Material

The online version of this article (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-1031) offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Published Online: 2018-3-3
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

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