British Sign Name Customs

Autor/a: DAY, Linda; SUTTON-SPENCE, Rachel
Año: 2010
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, nº 11, vol. 1 (2010)
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Research presented here describes the sign names and the customs of name allocation within the British Deaf community. While some aspects of British Sign Language sign names and British Deaf naming customs differ from those in most Western societies, there are many similarities. There are also similarities with other societies outside the more familiar cultures of most English-speakers. Naming customs in the British Deaf community are shown here to vary over time, with changes in education and other key elements of the British Deaf experience influencing the choice and use of sign names. While descriptive sign names are important within the British Deaf community, arbitrary signs, and those derived from the English language are also important. Additionally BSL sign names are shown to vary among different sections of the Deaf community. In contrast to reports from America, we find that British Deaf parents in the past have rarely allocated sign names to their children—deaf or hearing—beyond finger-spelled forms of their English names. Some of these children of Deaf parents retain these fingerspelled forms throughout their lives. Others only acquire names motivated by descriptive processes on entering school or even later in life. Thus, we conclude that, unlike people in many societies, the overwhelming majority of British Deaf people appear to acquire descriptive sign names from outside their families.