Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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Narrative discourse in BSL is first analyzed in an adult signer by describing how fixed and shifted sign space is used for reference and the encoding of simultaneity. Although children as young as 4 years old use parts of these sign spaces in isolation their combined use in encoding simultaneity in narrative is a major hurdle to achieving full mastery of British Sign Language (BSL). The paper describes the developmental trends in encoding simultaneity in BSL ‘frog story’ narratives from a group of 12 signing children, aged 4; 3 to 13; 4. We focus on the gradual control of reference in sign space. A transcription framework for recording this aspect of sign discourse is also outlined. The results point away from the role of iconicity and instead toward general patterns in narrative development as driving the organization of sign space and reference.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): British Sign Language; frog story; narrative development; sign spaces; simultaneity
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