Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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In this paper, we provide a quantitative analysis of weak hand holds based on corpus data. We include both a cross-linguistic analysis of these holds in narrative data from Russian Sign Language (RSL) and Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), and a language-internal, cross-genre analysis comparing NGT narrative and conversational data. We classified the functions of all holds found in two corpora of RSL and NGT, and analyzed their formal characteristics. We found that holds in RSL and NGT have similar functions. However, holds are significantly more frequent in RSL than in NGT. In addition, we found that the distribution of holds across different functions varies between different genres in NGT. The similarities between RSL and NGT in the domain of holds may be attributed to modality effects. The differences in frequency of holds ask for a language-specific explanation, and we discuss several possible scenarios.


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