Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/130852
Title: On the relation between ease of articulation and frequency of occurrence of handshapes in two sign languages
Authors: Ann, J. 
Issue Date: Mar-1996
Source: Ann, J. (1996-03). On the relation between ease of articulation and frequency of occurrence of handshapes in two sign languages. Lingua 98 (1-3 SPEC. ISS.) : 19-41. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Is there a correlation between ease of articulation and frequency of occurrence in handshapes in sign languages? To answer this question, this paper does four things. First, I explain the physiological reasons to assert that some handshapes are easier to produce (articulate) than others. Second, I propose a physiological metric for determining which handshapes are 'easy' and which are 'difficult' based on the physiology. Third, I examine whether the easy handshapes are found most commonly in signs, and the hard ones more rarely in signs. The handshapes I am concerned with in this paper are the 'one-finger handshapes with the rest of the fingers closed' in American Sign Language (ASL) and Taiwan Sign Language (TSL). From written sources of data for ASL and TSL, I compute the number of times particular handshapes occur. I conclude that a relation exists between the 'easy' and 'hard' handshapes and their frequency of occurrence of handshapes in these two languages. In general, the data shows that there is a correlation between the ease of articulation and the frequency of occurrence: the easy handshapes tend to occur more often than the hard handshapes. There are exceptions to this generalization, however. This is expected since ease of articulation is not the only factor which influences languages.
Source Title: Lingua
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/130852
ISSN: 00243841
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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