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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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From Topic Boundaries to Omission: New Research on Interpretation
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The handclasp strategy also appeared at eight other places in the text. To determine whether this clasping was random or patterned, we also looked at where in the texts these clasps occurred. Although we had not identified the places as major topic boundaries, each occurred at identifiable boundaries. What was more interesting was that not a single one occurred at a nonboundary such as in the middle of an utterance or the middle of a topic.

t r a n s l i t e r a t  i o n   3 (T-3)

In the transliteration of this text, the extralinguistic handclasp strategy occurred at 10 of our identified major boundaries. At eight of the other boundaries, other boundary marking strategies occurred, for example, filled and prosodic pauses. These strategies were described above in the description of Interpreter 3ís interpretation. Two of the boundaries we had identified were not marked with pausing or any other major strategy. The handclasp also occurred nine times at places we had not predicted; however, as in the interpretation, each occurred only at identifiable boundaries, and none occurred in the middle of utterances or idea segments.

The major difference between the hand clasps in the transliteration and the interpretation was that they tended to be held for a shorter period in the transliteration. For example, the clasp between lines 12 and 13 in the interpretation lasted for approximately 16 frames (see Chart 6.1). But the hand clasp that Interpreter 3 used at this same boundary in the transliteration continued only for approximately 4 frames.

chart 6.1


2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16


photo 6.23a





photo 6.23b


Similarly, the main difference at other boundaries was the length of time that many of the behaviors lasted. For example, at the boundary between lines 82 and 83, Interpreter 3 used a final hold in both versions. However, the length of the pause in the final hold was shorter in the transliteration than in the interpretation. The hold in the interpretation lasted for 32 frames whereas, at the same boundary in the transliteration, it was held for 3 frames. This length is illustrated in the two photos in Chart 6.2. The length of boundary markers and their internal structures is one more area that will provide interesting research opportunities.

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