Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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Previous research on speech and gesture has found that repeated references are often linguistically reduced in terms of, for example, the number of words and the acoustic realization of these words, compared to initial references. The present study looks at the production of repeated references by 14 signers of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Participants had to describe figures to an addressee, who had to pick the correct figure from a large group of figures. Several figures had to be described several times. The question was whether there would be reduction in the repeated references. We found systematic effects of repetition in that repeated references were shorter, contained fewer signs, and shorter signs than initial references. Moreover, in order to measure sign precision, a perception test was used where participants had to judge, in a forced choice task, which sign they considered to be the most precise, looking at 40 pairs of video clips with signs produced in either initial or repeated references to the same object by the same signer. We found that, non-signing participants (but not signing participants) consider signs produced during repeated references to be less precise than the signs produced during initial references. Taking together these results suggest that a similar reduction process in repeated references occurs in NGT as has been found previously for speech and gesture.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): reduction; sign language, repeated reference
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