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The Linguistics of British Sign Language

The Linguistics of British Sign Language
An Introduction


  • Date Published: March 1999
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521637183

£ 40.99

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About the Authors
  • This is the first detailed explanation of the way British Sign Language works and is the product of many years' experience of research and teaching sign linguistics to deaf and hearing people. It assumes no previous knowledge of linguistics or sign language, and is not structured around traditional headings such as phonology, morphology and syntax. Instead it is set out in such a way as to help learners and their teachers understand the linguistic principles behind the language. There are sections on BSL grammar and also on the use of BSL, including social acceptability in signing, variation, and poetry and humour in BSL. Technical terms and linguistic jargon are kept to a minimum, and the text contains many examples from English, BSL, and other spoken and sign languages. The book is amply illustrated and contains exercises, as well as a reading list for further study. An accompanying 90-minute DVD is available from Talk With Sign Books. To find out more, visit

    • The first book dealing exclusively and in depth with the linguistics of British Sign Language
    • It assumes no previous knowledge of linguistics or of British Sign Language
    • It contains over three hundred illustrations
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521637183
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.514kg
    • contains: 368 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Conventions used in the text
    1. Linguistics and sign linguistics
    2. BSL in its social context
    3. Constructing sign sentences
    4. Questions and negation
    5. Mouth patterns and non-manual features in BSL
    6. Morphology and morphemes in BSL
    7. Aspect, manner and mood
    8. Space types and verb types in BSL
    9. The structure of gestures and signs
    10. Visual motivation and metaphor
    11. The established and productive lexicons
    12. Borrowing and naming signs
    13. Socially unacceptable signs
    14. Extended use of language in BSL
    Table of illustrations
    Index of signs

  • Authors

    Rachel Sutton-Spence, University of Bristol

    Bencie Woll, University College London

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