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Phonology & Morphology
Transcript of Phonology & Morphology
The study of how the particular, individual sounds are used in a language.
Where the signs occur relative to the
Signer's utilize a "signing space"
Location does have semantic meaning
and relations, which will be discussed later.
Examples of location errors:
Non-manual Signals and Facial Expressions
Parameters in Spoken English
Phonological Processes of ASL
Phonology & Morphology:
: the direction the sign is moving.
Ex = I-ASK-YOU, YOU-ASK-ME
: smooth, jagged, prolonged, linear, etc.
Ex = SLOW, VERY-SLOW
: The force/emphasis using while signing.
Likened to intensity, tone, and volume.
Ex = MEAN, VICIOUS
: the repeating of the movement.
Ex = WORK, WORK-A-LOT
: Increasing or decreasing the distance
between the signer's hands.
Ex = SMALL, BIG, ENORMOUS
Non-Manual &Facial Expressions
The expressions you make on your face or
any body modification made.
They can convey the meaning of a sign or an
emotion, and can be used to describe a
There is a difference between the sign
SCARED with no facial expression
and SCARED with clenched teeth.
The direction in which the hand is turned
for a sign.
Can be described as: palm out, palm in, palm up,
or palm down. Can switch mid-sign.
Palm orientation errors: PAPER and NEW
The configuration the hand makes when making a sign.
CHILDREN, WALK --> What do they have in common?
CHILDREN, FRENCH FRY --> What is different?
Sign meaning can also be interpreted
with a slight hand shape modification.
Bent hand shape = negative
Ex. Penny, Suspect
English = Simultaneous
Phonologically, the parameters all work simultaneously to create a sound.
Body Parts = Articulators
Fingers are like teeth, hands are like the tongue, arms are like the lips, etc.
The body works together using 5 parameters to make a sign, much like the articulators of the mouth are used to create a sound.
1) Manner of Articulation:
how the sound is produced and the way the airstream is modified.
Includes stop, fricatives, affricates, nasals, liquids, and glides.
2) Place of Articulation:
which articulators are involved in the production of a sound. Includes bilabial, labio-dental, lingua-dental, alveolar, palatal, velar, and glottal.
whether the vocal folds are vibrating
or not during the production of a consonant.
1) Horizontal tongue movement:
the tongue is either shifted forward/backward from it's neutral position or is in neutral position
2) Vertical tongue movement:
the tongue is placed either high, middle, or low in the mouth.
3 Consonant parameters
2 Vowel parameters
Simultaneous or Sequential?
ASL = Simultaneous
Before ASL was really studied, it was thought to be a code with unanalyzable wholes.
William Stokoe, one of the first linguists to analyze ASL, discovered the parameters and determined it is a phonologically simultaneous language just like English.
Scott K. Liddell and Robert E. Johnson proposed a completely different theory, opposing Stokoe's theory.
They argued that ASL is a phonologically sequential language that consists of hold and movement segments.
the period of time in which some aspect of a parameter (usually the location), is in transition.
the period of time in which all aspects of the sign are still.
English speakers typically use connected speech,
which is the continuous sequence of sounds, during informal settings.
Like English, ASL signers can use connected signs informally. The movement-holds (MH) can be likened to consonants and vowels. The MH of formal signs can
look very different from informal signs. Movements or holds can be deleted or added.
These are called phonological processes.
A hold segment is deleted between movements when two signs occur in sequence.
Example: GOOD IDEA
A segment of a sign takes on the characteristics of another segment near it.
Example: BELIEVE (THINK + MARRY)
A movement segment is added between the last segment of one sign and the first segment of the following sign.
Example: FATHER STUDY
Parts of the segments of a sign change can movement direction without changing the meaning.
Examples: DEAF, FLOWER, CONGRESS
Analyzing phonological components means
only the smallest contrastive parts of a
language is studied.
CHILDREN and WALK phonologically have no separate, distinct meaning. Individual parts can be identified, but they cannot have meaning assigned to them. Phonologically, we are only interested in the fact that signs can be broken down into these basic core components.
What if a parameter had specific meaning assigned to it?
For example: 2-WEEKS. The use of a 2 hand shape is
indicative of a specific quantity. Phonologically, all we
would be interested in is that the sign consists of a
movement, a hand shape, and a location.
Morphologically, however, the fact that the
hand shape has a specific meaning
The study of the way in which words are constructed out of smaller, meaningful units.
Morphology, essentially, is the study of
word formation and how a language
creates new words. Languages are formed
on the rules of morphology, giving them
many ways to build new, meaningful
Morpheme: the smallest meaningful unit of language.
Deriving Agents from Verbs
Units that can occur independently.
English Examples: chair, kick, tree
ASL Examples: CHAIR, TREE, WEEK
Small units that must occur with other morphemes. Cannot occur independently.
English: prefixes, suffixes, plural -s, etc. Adds morphemes in a linear order.
Examples: chairs, rebuild
ASL: parameters are changed or signs are added.
Used to indicate there is more than one of something.
English: cat, cats
ASL: CAT, CAT-GROUP, CAT+++, CAT (cl:v)
Deriving Agents from Verbs
Agents can be derived from the verb that is being acted.
English: Teach/Teacher, Study/Student
In English, there are many nouns that can be derived
from verbs simply by changing the syllabic stress.
Regular patterns involving nouns and verbs can
also be observed in ASL. The pattern mimics
homonyms, words that are spelled the same but mean something different.
The signs look the same but have a slight change in movement. A verb typically has one flowing movement. Nouns, on the other hand, bounce twice.
The verbs have stress on the second syllable, while the stress for nouns is on the first syllable.
Due to the stress difference between verbs and nouns, the vowels actually sound different because of their elongation.
Tense is typically added using free morphemes (have, had, was, etc.) or bound morphemes (-s, -ing, -ed) attached to or near the verb.
There are eight different types of tenses, and all can be expressed in different ways.
Tense can be thought of as an imaginary timeline that
runs perpendicular to the body.
English vs. ASL
1. The dog walks.
2. The dog is walking.
3. The dog walked.
4. The dog was walking.
1. DOG WALK
2. DOG WALK+++
3. BEFORE DOG WALK FINISH
4. BEFORE DOG WALK+++
The verbs in ASL do not actually indicate tense as English verbs do. There are not separate signs for GO, WILL GO, or WENT.
Tense is placed at the beginning of a sentence, therefore automatically modifying the verbs.
Once tense is indicated, the following sentences maintain that tense until otherwise stated.
Examples of tense include: TODAY, YESTERDAY, UP-UNTIL-NO, LONG-AGO.
Two free morphemes that already exist in the language are put together.
This method is very efficient for languages to enlarge their vocabulary.
There are 2 rules that can be found when analyzing English compounds.
The two free morphemes used to create a compound do not necessarily retain their original meaning.
Stress in a compounds is typically found on the first word, while the stress on the second word is either minimized or dropped.
These rules are applied specifically to create new units with meaning
1. The first contact rule
2. The single sequential rule
3. The weak hand anticipation rule
Some compound signs in ASL mirror
the English morphological rules, but
many do not.
ASL has the ability to derive a compound from signs that, when combined, make sense in regards to the definition of the compound being formed.
Examples: PARENTS, BELIEVE,
Like English, ASL has rules when it
comes to building compounds. There
are 2 types of rules.
The weak hand anticipation rule
The non-dominant hand anticipates the second sign used in the compound and does not participate in the first sign.
Example: GIRL + SAME = SISTER
The single sequential rule
Some movement repetition or the internal movement itself is eliminated.
Internal movement refers to the small movement that occurs when a sign is in a hold position (FATHER)
Example: FATHER+MOTHER = PARENT
The first contact rule
Incorporates the Movement-Hold Model.
Some hold segments of signs include having contact with some part of the body.
In compounding, if two different signs come together and the first sign has a contact hold, that hold will stay. If the second sign has a contact hold but the first does not, the hold will stay.
These three rules can be applied when signs are sequentially produced and do not change the meaning of the sign.
These rules also happen to be the regularly occurring phonological processes that were discussed during the Phonology section.
H (+c) M H(+c)
H(+c) M M H(+c)
This involves adding a movement between two signs so the dominant hand can easily transition from one sign to the next.
A hold segment is deleted between movements when two signs occur in sequence, as long as both are non-contact signs.
A segment of a sign takes on the characteristics of another segment near it.
Classifiers are signs used in ASL that represent specific people, objects, locations, and/or movements of objects and people.
These are typically depicted by a hand shape that looks similar to what it is trying to symbolize.
There are two parts to a classifier: the movement roots and the classifier hand shape types.
But first, classifiers have been categorized
into three types.
1) Size and Shape Specifiers (SASS): represents the size, shape, and/or orientation of an object. Typically functions more like adjectives than it does a noun.
2) Entity Classifiers: uses hand shapes that represent individual items or items that carry a specific role, such as vehicles or animals.
3) Handle Classifiers: the signer's hand is shaped as if it were holding an object.
1) Stative Descriptions: the hand moves
in order to describe an object, but that movement doesn't mean the object is actually moving. Example: FLAT-SURFACE
2) Process: The hand moves to indicate movement of an object.
Example: a car driving
3) Contact root: the hand moves in a slight downward motion to indicate the meaning
Classifier Hand shape Types
There are 7 different types of classifier hand shapes.
Whole Entity Morphemes
This refers to the hand shape classifier showing the object as a whole, such as a car or person.
Refers to thin, narrow, or wide surfaces typically shown using a B hand shape.
The hand shape represents the hand as it acts on an object, such as holding a baseball bat or lipstick.
Depth and Width
Represents the width and depth of the object, such as a layer of dirt or a tree trunk.
These hand shapes signal volumes or amounts. An example is showing a flat tire.
This kind of hand shape indicates the external shape of an object, such as a picture frame.
Represents large groups or crowds.
Pronouns and Determiners
A pronoun is a word that represents a person,
place, or thing that has already been identified. English examples include
he, she, they, it, and us.
A determiner is a word or phrase that comes
at the beginning of a noun phrase and modify
the noun, such as
1) I have a friend named Tim.
2) He wants to go to the movies.
It is safe to assume, through process of elimination, that the pronoun
referring to Tim.
ASL does not have any specific signs for pronouns. Instead, signers use a
A deixis is a pointing hand shape that points
to a specific location relevant to the signer.
It is written as:
1x- (specific pointing location)
The current location of physically present people or objects is generally used. The space that is not being used can be reserved for people or objects that are not present.
Like English, ASL pronouns need a referent. Before being able to use a deixis for a person, the signer must specify the gender, name, and general characteristics of the person. Objects must also be described.
A specific space being used as a reference point maintains that referent until otherwise stated.
English shows a distinction between subject and object pronouns, such as we and us, he and him, they and them, she and her, etc.
ASL does not have such distinctions. Instead, the subject and object is clearly indicated by the sign sequence and sentence structure.
In ASL, specific determiners (the) would
be indicated using a deixis, while
non-specific determiners (a, an) would be dropped.
English: The cat sits.
ASL: CAT 1x-right SIT 1x-right
English: A cat sits.
ASL: CAT SIT
ASL and English are superficially and deeply unlike each other.
ASL involves manually produced and visually received gestures. English involves orally produced and auditorily perceived sounds.
Why is it important to study these differences?
To help Deaf students in the public education system
Children who are Deaf, even children who have learned speech instead of sign language, have difficulty with their education.
Families of Deaf children have two choices: mainstream school or residential school
A study was conducted with over 400,00 deaf children in the U.S.
They found that 46% were fully mainstreamed, 27% attended residential schools.
Many times, deaf students who attend mainstream schools are in separated classrooms from their hearing peers for core curriculum.
This is due to the fact that deaf children are typically educationally behind, mainly due to their inability to read or write in English.
Around 3rd grade, students make the transition from learning to read as the basis of their education to reading FOR their basis of education. Note-taking becomes extremely important.
Many deaf students find themselves struggling to achieve reading comprehension scores higher than a fourth-grade reading level.
Educators are ill-equipped for teaching deaf children how to read. They are not thought of as bilingual, they are thought of as disabled.
However, not all blame can be placed on the education system. It all starts with the education of parents by their doctors.