Yes, No, Visibility, and Variation in ASL and Tactile ASL

Autor/a: PETRONIO, Karen; DIVELY, Valerie
Año: 2006
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, Vol. 7, nº 1 (2006) pp. 57-98
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda » Personas sordociegas, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


In American Sign Language (ASL), a receiver watches the signer and receives language visually. In contrast, when using tactile ASL, a variety of ASL, the deaf-blind receiver receives language by placing a hand on top of the signer’s hand. In the study described in this article we compared the functions and frequency of the signs YES and #NO in tactile ASL and visual ASL. We found that YES and/or #NO were used for twelve functions in both. There was, however, some variation. In one environment YES occurred in tactile ASL but not in visual ASL. With regard to frequency, the two signs occurred far more often in tactile ASL. Unexpectedly, significant variation was also found within visual ASL, depending on the number of interviewees in a session. YES and #NO were used more frequently with two or more interviewees and less often when only one interviewee was present. These findings led us to the concept of a "visibility continuum" to account for the variation between visual and tactile ASL, as well as for the variation within visual ASL. The data also reveal variation in tactile ASL that correlates with role and gender, as well as the age at which a participant started using tactile ASL (i.e., similar to age-of-acquisition effects).