Analysing Sign Language Poetry by Rachel Sutton-Spence

By Rachel Sutton-Spence

This new research is a tremendous contribution to signal language research and to literature more often than not, taking a look at the complicated grammatical, phonological and morphological platforms of signal language linguistic constitution and their function in signal language poetry and function. Chapters care for repetition and rhyme, symmetry and stability, neologisms, ambiguity, issues, metaphor and allusion, poem and function, and mixing English and signal language poetry. significant poetic performances in either BSL and ASL--with emphasis at the paintings of the deaf poet Dorothy Miles--are analyzed utilizing the instruments supplied within the ebook

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Additional resources for Analysing Sign Language Poetry

Example text

For a people who have been told for too long that their language is inferior to spoken language, this elevation of sign language allows them to take pride in their language and their identity. As Dorothy Miles said, sign poetry can change the world. Dorothy Miles’ contribution to sign language poetry Dorothy Miles was the key figure in modern sign poetry, and although we will refer to the work of several other sign poets in this book, much of our analysis will be based on her poems. For this reason, we will take some time here to outline her contribution to the art form.

In other words, we notice poetic language because it is odd. The foregrounding serves to increase the significance of the poem. As poetry is ‘an aesthetically purposeful distortion of standard language’ (Freeman, 1970: p. 7), the language in poems deliberately distorts the rules of standard language in a creative way, in order for the language to be noticed. Poets may use the established possibilities of the language in a creative way, or they may go beyond these established possibilities and create new possibilities that are not in the language at all (or at least, not yet).

The first three sign sequences of the poem may be roughly glossed as follows, and the handshape of each sign is given in brackets: TWO-PEOPLE (H) CAN (S) HOW (A) RUN (L) NOTHING (F) CATCH-SIGHT (F) ZOOM-OFF (L) DISAPPEAR-INTO-DISTANCE (A) GONE (transition across sign space) (S) BUMP-INTO-TWO-PEOPLE (H) TWO-PEOPLE-CLOSE-UP (H) OH-NO! (S) NOT (A) ME (L) WOWSKILL-CAN-DO! (F). In these three sequences, the handshapes of the signs spell the word ‘flash’ successively, first in reverse, then forward, then in reverse again.

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