Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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This study investigates the frequency and functions of a ubiquitous form in conversational NZSL discourse glossed as palm-up. Dictionaries show that it is a polysemous vocabulary item in NZSL, although many of its uses in discourse are not accounted for in the lexicon. Analysis of discourse data from 20 signers shows it to be the second most frequently occuring item, and to exhibit phonological variation. We identify and discuss four (non-exclusive) functions of palm-up in this data: cohesive, modal, interactive, and manual frame for unpredictable mouthings (codemixing). Correspondences in form, linguistic context, and meaning are found between uses of palm-up in NZSL, similar forms in other signed languages, and co-speech palm gestures. The study affirms previous descriptions of this form as having properties of both gesture and sign, and suggests that it also has features of a discourse marker.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): connective; conversation regulator; gesture; modality; mouthing; NZSL; palm-up; polysemy
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