Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Laboratory Phonology

Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology

Ed. by Cole, Jennifer

IMPACT FACTOR 2015: 0.667
Rank 85 out of 179 in category Linguistics in the 2015 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report/Social Sciences Edition

More options …

ASL sign lowering as undershoot: A corpus study

Kevin Russell / Erin Wilkinson / Terry Janzen
Published Online: 2011-10-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/labphon.2011.015


American Sign Language (ASL) signs that are located on the forehead in their canonical form are often articulated lower during natural signing. Previous studies have examined this phenomenon from a phonetic perspective, treating it as a form of undershoot, and from a variationist sociolinguistic perspective, treating it as a categorical process. This study sees if the findings and explanations of these studies can be extended to the lowering of signs formed in locations other than the forehead. In a corpus of natural conversational signing from six signers, we measure the vertical displacement of over 3000 tokens of signs canonically formed at the face, head, or neck. While there is some apparent evidence for a categorical lowering process in a minority of signs and considerable evidence for undershoot, neither alone can explain the full range of displacement patterns across all signs and locations. Undershoot must be carefully planned and controlled: no matter how sloppy the signing, signers systematically avoid contacting their eyes. The results can be explained if there is a somatosensory forward-modelling mechanism that can veto undesirable gestural scores and whose decisions are incorporated during learning into the phonological distributions representing the locations of signs.

About the article

Published Online: 2011-10-13

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Laboratory Phonology, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 403–422, ISSN (Online) 1868-6354, ISSN (Print) 1868-6346, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/labphon.2011.015.

Export Citation

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Savithry Namboodiripad, Daniel Lenzen, Ryan Lepic, and Tessa Verhoef
Journal of Language Evolution, 2016, Volume 1, Number 2, Page 109
Marieke Hoetjes, Emiel Krahmer, and Marc Swerts
Sign Language & Linguistics, 2014, Volume 17, Number 1, Page 56
Ellen Ormel, Onno Crasborn, and Els van der Kooij
Journal of Phonetics, 2013, Volume 41, Number 3-4, Page 156

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in