Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
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This paper presents results from a study of sociolinguistic variation in Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL). Specifically, it reports findings about location variation in a class of signs like that are produced at/above the signer’s forehead in their citation form, but are sometimes articulated at a lower location in everyday conversation. Eight hundred tokens of target signs from 40 signers were analyzed. As also found in studies of location ‘dropping’ in similar signs in American Sign Language, Australian Sign Language, and New Zealand Sign Language, variation in HKSL correlates with linguistic and social factors in a systematic way ( Lucas, Bayley, & Valli, 2001 ; Schembri, McKee, McKee, Pivac, Johnston, & Goswell, 2009 ). A comparison of findings across these four languages is presented and discussed. The results of the present study suggest that a set of forehead-located signs that express the names of deaf schools may have affected results due to their salience. The work environment (i.e., sign language related work roles) of participants may also affect ‘careful’ versus lowered production of forehead signs.


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