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Volume Seven: Issue Three

Spring 2007

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
SLS INTERVIEW
With I. King Jordan

COMMENTARY
Learning about Hearing People in the Land of the Deaf: An Ethnographic Account
Audrei Gesser
ARTICLES
Symmetry in Sign Language Poetry
Rachel Sutton-Spence and Michiko Kaneko

Abstract

Sociolinguistic Variation in the Use of Fingerspelling in Australian Sign Language: A Pilot Study
Adam Schembri and Trevor Johnston

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS
Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human by Michael Chorost
Stephen Chaikind
ABSTRACTS
Symmetry in Sign Language Poetry

This paper considers the range of ways that sign languages use geometric symmetry temporally and spatially to create poetic effect. Poets use this symmetry in sign language art to highlight duality and thematic contrast, and to create symbolic representations of beauty, order and harmony.

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Sociolinguistic Variation in the Use of Fingerspelling in Australian Sign Language: A Pilot Study

This article presents the results from a preliminary investigation into the use of fingerspelling in Australian Sign Language (Auslan), drawing on data collected as part of the Sociolinguistic Variation in Australian Sign Language project (Schembri and Johnston 2004; Schembri, Johnston, and Goswell in press). This major project is a replication in the Australian deaf community of quantitative investigations into variation in American Sign Language (ASL) conducted by Lucas, Bayley, and Valli (2001). In this specific study, we consider variation in the use of the two-handed manual alphabet in Auslan, based on an analysis of 2,667 utterances collected from 205 deaf signers of Auslan in five sites across Australia (i.e., Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide). The results indicate that the variation in the frequency of fingerspelling use most strongly correlates with signersí age, but may also vary according to region, as has also been reported for British Sign Language (BSL) (Sutton-Spence, Woll, and Allsop 1990).

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