Pinky

Part One continued...
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"The teacher, at first he waited. Then he started wondering. He thought that boy has been putting things there for a long time."

Thus, hand configurations of the preceding and subsequent signs appear to have no influence upon the occurrence of PE on the target sign. It is worth noting again the distinction between PE as observed in my data and instances of phonological assimilation of the pinky between contiguous signs (which were excluded from this study). In contrast to PE in which the extension continues throughout the sign, the extension of the pinky in instances of assimilation is a gradual opening (in the case of regressive assimilation) or closing (in the case of progressive assimilation) during only a portion of the target sign.

SIGN

As Table 2 shows, PE occurred in twenty-six lexemes. It is impossible to determine in this preliminary study whether PE is subject to lexical constraints (other than syntactic category, which will be discussed later). More examples are needed and from more than one signer to determine if extension occurs only for a closed set of lexemes (i.e., whether PE can occur on any lexeme as long as linguistic and social constraints are satisfied).

TOPIC

The topic of conversation seems to have no effect upon the occurrence of PE. This was indicated by the frequent occurrence of a single lexeme being signed with and without PE within the discussion of a single topic. For example, when comparing the use of facial expression by Deaf individuals who grew up in residential schools with those used by Deaf individuals who grew up in oral schools, Helen used the sign FACIAL-EXPRESS seven times. Three times she extended the pinky; four times she did not. Here are two examples from that discussion signed without PE:

TABLE 2. Occurrence of PE in Twenty-Six Lexemes

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Lexeme Number of Occurrences
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1ASK3 1
CL-FEET-WALKING 3
CONTINUE 21
CRY 1
DOLL 1
EXPRESS 4
GO 2
GO-AROUND 1
LAZY 1
LIE 1
LIMIT 1
MOVE 1
MULL-OVER 2
NOTICE 1
NOT-GUILTY 7
NUDGE 1
SMILE 1
SUCKER 1
SWALLOW 1
THINK 10
TIME-GO-ON 1
TOLERATE 3
3TOLD1 1
VARIOUS 9
WAIT 3
WONDER 21

TOTAL

100

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