Variation in mouth actions with manual signs
in Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT)
Bank, R., Crasborn, O., & Van Hout, R.
Variation in mouth actions with manual signs in Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Sign Language & Linguistics, 14
(2), 248-270. doi:10.1075/sll.14.2.02ban.
Mouthings and mouth gestures are omnipresent in Sign Language of the Netherlands
(NGT). Mouthings in NGT commonly have their origin in spoken Dutch.
We conducted a corpus study to explore how frequent mouthings in fact are in
NGT, whether there is variation within and between signs in mouthings, and
how frequent temporal reduction occurs in mouthings. Answers to these questions
can help us classify mouthings as being specified in the sign lexicon or as
being instances of code-blending. We investigated a sample of 20 frequently occurring
signs. We found that each sign in the sample co-occurs frequently with a
mouthing, usually that of a specific Dutch lexical item. On the other hand, signs
show variation in the way they co-occur with mouthings and mouth gestures.
By using a relatively large amount of natural data, we succeeded in gaining
more insight into the way mouth actions are utilized in sign languages.