Analysing Sign Language Poetry by Rachel Sutton-Spence

By Rachel Sutton-Spence

This new examine is an incredible contribution to signal language learn and to literature as a rule, the complicated grammatical, phonological and morphological platforms of signal language linguistic constitution and their position in signal language poetry and function. Chapters care for repetition and rhyme, symmetry and stability, neologisms, ambiguity, topics, metaphor and allusion, poem and function, and mixing English and signal language poetry. significant poetic performances in either BSL and ASL--with emphasis at the paintings of the deaf poet Dorothy Miles--are analyzed utilizing the instruments supplied within the publication

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These include Sinai (1981: p. 245) and The Hang Glider (1975: p. 242), which we will consider in more depth later. Each of these poems contains images that expressed her feelings – some very powerful – and showed how she dealt with the world she knew. Although they are not expressly ‘Deaf’ poems and deafness is not mentioned in any of them, they are all from the perspective of a Deaf person. Anyone, Deaf or not, should be able to relate to and learn from the experiences in these poems, but they might be especially empowering for a Deaf audience.

1). In this way, the shapes and internal movements of the signs echo and reinforce the lyrical meaning of the short poem. Exaltation (p. 242) is a poem about a moment of pure bliss, and the handshapes of the signs in the ASL poem lend themselves to the atmosphere. There are 40 occurrences of signs with either a ‘B’ or a ‘5’ handshape and only 25 other signs have other handshapes. The key ideas in the poem all use these ‘open’ handshapes – TREE, SKY, BREEZE, REACH-UP, PEACE, HEAVEN, LIGHT, TOUCH and GOD.

The signs in this poem are not related to numerals at all, but the pattern of their handshapes follows the sequence: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The poem may be roughly glossed as follows, with the number corresponding to each handshape given in brackets after each sign: WATER (6) WATER-ALL-AROUND (5) Repetition in Sign Language Poetry 35 BOAT-BOBS-THROUGH-WAVES (4) BOAT-CL-BOBS-THROUGH-WAVES (3) SEE (2) FAR-AWAY-BRIDGE-WITH-PLATFORMS-CLOSED (1) ORNATE-SHAPED-BRIDGE (2) ORNATE-BRIDGE-STRUCTURE (3) BRIDGE-OPENS (4) BOAT-BOBS-THROUGH-WAVES (5) FLAG-ON-MAST (6) MANY-PEOPLE-LOOK-DOWN-TO-BOAT (5) MANY-PEOPLE-LOOK-UP-FROM-BOAT (5) BRIDGE-CLOSES (4) BOAT-CL-BOBS-THROUGH-WAVES (3) SEE (2) FAR-AWAY-BRIDGE-WITH-PLATFORMS-CLOSED-RECEDES-INTODISTANCE (1) (The ‘CL’ in this gloss with the ‘3’ handshapes refers to a classifier handshape in a sign.

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