SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 40

Sign Language Structure Stokoe, Jr. 1.54. Two smaller movements using the wrist as fulcrum are the nod or carpal motion, symbolized n, and the open-close, or foral motion, in which the hand spreads or contracts changing configuration. Symbols: #, close; ], open. A still smaller motion is digital, a wiggle of the fingers from the knuckles, which is symbolized e. 1.55. The sigs so far described are all motions of the dez seen as moving freely, the nature of its movement determined by the muscles and joints involved. A second class of sigs is characterized by interaction between dez and tab. This includes approach, touching, crossing, entrance, joining, and grazing, as well as action in some ways opposite: separation and interchange. These are symbolized as follows: ) approach × touch ` link, grasp + cross o enter áàæ , etc. graze : separate ( interchange convergent interagent sigs divergent 2. Morphocheremics 2.0. If every sign of this sign language were simply composed of a tab, a dez, and a sig, the morpheme list of the language could be simply determined by the formula: no. of tabs X no. of dez X no. of sigs = no. of morphemes But there are several different patterns of sign formation, not to mention compound signs and contractions; and the language in true linguistic fashion allows certain combinations of elements and not others. That is to say, the structure of morphemes in the system is not mathematical or mechanical but linguistic, and this level of organization truly constitutes the morphocheremics of the language. 2.1. When the tab is zero the dez is free to make any of the sigs except those of interaction with a tab. These signs cannot, however, be considered tab-less because every sig is defined as motion of some dez somewhere; and also by definition the ‘somewhat’, however signaled, is the tab. The zero tab is less precisely located than the others but it is still a place, that space in front of the signer’s body, where the hand can freely and comfortably move. 2.2. The tabs signaled by parts of the body are more or less precisely located depending on whether the sig calls for contact by the dez or only motion in their vicinity (Some older informants and a 1911 motion picture of a sign language rendering of Lincoln’s ‘Gettysburg Address’ indicate that body tabs were never actually touched in formal signing. CGC). With body tabs any dez may be used and the following single sigs: circle, approach, touch, and graze. Sig clusters are also found: circle followed by touch; touch and motion up, down, or away; touch and wiggle; and touch and circle (rubbing). There are even some triple clusters: touch, right and wiggle as in ‘dream’; SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 40