Analysing Sign Language Poetry by R. Sutton-Spence

By R. Sutton-Spence

This new research is a tremendous contribution to signal language learn and to literature in most cases, the complicated grammatical, phonological and morphological structures 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 analysed utilizing the instruments supplied within the booklet.

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When this is done skilfully, the subject matter is also related to the word spelled out. Whether or not all examples of this genre should be considered poetry (and Heidi Rose (1992) makes the claim that these games are usually more properly classed as folkloric language games, having originated well before sign language poetry and the age of the videotape); some are, and several of Clayton Valli’s poems use this device. Valli’s poem Flash uses signs with handshapes that occur in manual letters.

However, there is a narrower definition of performance that may be relevant to sign language poetry, which is that the event is marked in some special way to be a ‘display’ for the audience. When sign language poetry is performed, the presentation is framed as a special display to signal to the audience that this is a poetic performance. We will explore the relationship between sign poems and their performance in more depth in Chapter 9. In some unpublished notes from June 1990, Dorothy Miles summed up the situation in sign language, with reference to what she termed ‘Art Sign’: Art sign can perhaps be defined as sign that has been planned to create the best effect.

240), and Our Dumb Friends (1976: p. 244). Clayton Valli (1993) remarked on the irony that hearing people frequently appear to know more about signed poetry than Deaf people do. 20 Analysing Sign Language Poetry The paradox that outsiders know more about the principles behind the highest language art-form of a community than the members themselves do is balanced by the fact that only a member of the community can compose and perform and really understand all the cultural implications of the poetry.

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