Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
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Abstract (Australian Sign Language)

Most bilingualism and translanguaging studies focus on spoken language; less is known about how people use two or more ways of signing. Here, I take steps towards redressing this imbalance, presenting a case study of signed language in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The study’s methodology is participant observation and analysis of conversational recordings between deaf signers. The Port Moresby deaf community uses two ways of signing: and . is around 30 years old, and its lexicon is drawn largely from Australasian Signed English. In contrast,  – which is as old as each individual user – is characterised by signs of local origin, abundant depiction, and considerable individual variation. Despite ’s young age, its users have innovated a metalinguistic sign () to describe switching between ways of communicating. To conclude, I discuss how the Port Moresby situation challenges both the bilingualism and translanguaging approaches.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): bilingualism; metalinguistics; Papua New Guinea; sign language; translanguaging
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