The social meaning of sign language mouthing in multilingual settings [vídeo]

Autor/a: PALFREYMAN, Nick
Año: 2022
Editorial: CSLS: Languages and Lives in Deaf Communities
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda


Sign languages are known to exploit the affordances of the visual-gestural modality, which include the possibility of simultaneous articulation. An example of this is the co-incidence of manual elements with non-manual ones such as mouthing, where signers produce lip patterns based on those of speakers (Pfau & Quer, 2010). The prevalence of mouthing may vary considerably cross-linguistically, and also between individuals and across interactional contexts (Adam & Braithwaite, 2022). Indeed, mouthing is perhaps an example par excellence of how signers do translanguaging, combining semiotic resources to obtain effective communication outcomes (De Meulder et al. 2019, Kusters 2020).

While research has been conducted on the linguistic functions of mouthing (Boyes Braem & Sutton-Spence, 2001; Crasborn et al., 2008; Bank 2014), there is comparatively less work addressing its social functions. Mouthing already entails actively mixing or blending a minimum of two languages, but in settings where speakers are bi- or multilingual, there is potential for code-switching in the mouthing channel, and exactly this is reported for Finland-Swedish Sign Language (Hoyer, 2004) and New Zealand Sign Language (McKee, 2019).

I argue elsewhere that code-switching in the mouthing channel functions as an indexical practice for Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO) (Palfreyman, 2020), and in this presentation I examine how the Indonesia’s ethno-linguistic diversity may influence mouthing practices. Given the multiple spoken languages of the Swiss Confederation, I conclude by raising questions about mouthing practices in Switzerland and how it might compare with the situation of BISINDO.