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What is ASL Phonology?

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Darren Holst

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of What is ASL Phonology?

Language System
Phonology – the study of phoneme

Phoneme – the smallest unit without meaning (e.g, “f”, “o”, “k”)

What is English Phonology?
What is English Phonology?
Phoneme: smallest unit of a language without meaning

English ----------- sound

[ b ] [ I ] [ a ]

What is ASL Phonology?
ASL Phoneme:
William Stokoe

Three Parameters:

Stokoe, 1965, found the parts of ASL signs – handshape, location and movement.

-19 handshapes
-12 locations
-24 movements

Prime: Each ASL handshape is called a prime

Each ASL location is called a prime.

Each orientation and each movement are also called a prime.

ASL has five parameters. (Non-manual grammatical signals are the fifth parameter.)

Study of the “sound” components of a language

English: has about 48 sounds

Study of the "sign" components/system of a language
Smallest unit of a language without meaning

A, C, X, 5

What is ASL Phonology?

Four Parameters:

Batlison, 1978, found the fourth parameter –
palm orientation (SOON, TRAIN).

-45 handshapes
-25 locations
-12 movements
-12 palm orientations

Unmarked Phonemes & Basic & Frequent
Unmarked sounds:
* Used in all languages - all ages
* Most basic
* Acquired first
* Most Frequent

English - the first unmarked sound acquired are B and D (baa, daa)
ASL Unmarked Shapes
* Most basic
* Acquired first
* Most Frequent
*Found in all languages

First handshapes acquired in ASL
B, A, S, 1, O, 5, C

Marked Phonemes
Marked sounds:

* Most complex
* Learned last
* Used few times
* Not found in all languages

English Marked Sounds: “ch”, “z”, “k”

ASL Marked

* Most complex
* Learned last
*Used few times
* Not found in all languages

ASL Marked Handshapes: E, X, T, R, 7

The Location of ASL Signs
"ASL words/signs are made below the neck have changed through time to become more centralized."
Rules for Parameters
Minimal Pairs:

* 3 out of 4 parameters - same
( only one parameter must be different)

* Meaning must be different and cannot be related.
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