Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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In this paper. we offer a preliminary investigation of some aspects of individual and group variation in sign rate and rhythm, considering the sociolinguistic factors of Age (younger and older adults), Gender, and Sign Variety (Black and Mainstream American Sign Language). Differences in sign rate and rhythmic structure among signers were found in signers’ elicited narratives. A novel approach to phrasal rhythm is introduced, called “rhythm ratio”, which considers sign duration and transition duration together and is similar in spirit to the “normalized pairwise variability index” (nPVI) in spoken languages. This measure appears to be promising as a method for identifying rhythm class in sign languages; however, due to the small number of signers in each group these results can only be suggestive.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): American Sign Language; Black ASL; prominence; prosody; rhythm; sociolinguistic variation
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