SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 46

Sign Language Structure Stokoe, Jr. with related meanings and similar structure, as with ‘cousin’, ‘nephew’, ‘uncle’, ‘aunt’, or ‘law’, ‘rule’, and ‘principle’: BL × , BR × , BK v × ; and 3) that although as old as l’Épée, it is still a living principle of formation. Additions to the lexicon of the language by this means are not a fair indication of its use, as local groups of signers find it most useful for making place and personal names into signs, but only some of these achieve general currency, for example C , ‘Chicago’; K , ‘Philadelphia’, – (the to show an abrupt arc, a ?-shaped movement). Such signs, especially those using zero tab, might be considered as abbreviations of the finger-spelled word. As a matter of fact that way of analyzing them will be as good as the cheremic when they are being considered as units in utterance. As has been remarked the sign language sentence is about equally tolerant of finger-spelled words and signs proper. The difference is analysis is important, though, when the sign or word itself is being examined, and the difference in motion—in signs significant, in spelling not so--is enough to show a different order of structure. Signing and spelling are also distinguished by their treatment of space or position. Although finger- spelling may be said to occur in the region we call zero tab, only j and z are structurally like signs. And while some initial signs have zero as tab, others may have a body or configuration tab. In order words they structure exactly like signs. 3. Morphemics 3.0. Once the outlines of the cheremic system have been established and the patterning of cheremes into signs has been explored, a way is open to morphology proper, including syntax. Having described a sign cheremically or morphocheremically, the investigator may go to stretches of unanalyzed utterance and look for recurrent patterns. One of the first features to emerge from such investigation is that on the syntactic level other signals than the aspectual cheremes are operating. The analogy with the superfixes and intonation patterns of English (Trager & Smith, 1951) is not necessarily exact; but there is a clear indication that here in sign language a different level of structure has been reached. 3.1. A striking example of similarity with a significant difference is to be found in an extensive conversation (several hundred frames of 16 mm film taken at a film speed of 48 fps) among the project’s filmed data. The two informants are discussing a trip taken a year before. Their face and bodily attitudes, though relaxed, show much interest and animation in recollecting various details of the experience. The general pattern of the conversation is that one signer recalls an episode and begins or concludes his narrative with the sign ‘remember’. The other replies with ‘remember’, and goes on to relate something he connects with the episode, perhaps concluding also with ‘remember’. And so back to the first for several such exchanges. The form of the sign ‘remember’ both use is not the formal or isolated one a teacher- informant might give: uB ×# v :AA × , which is composed sign made from ‘know’ and ‘seal’. Instead they use the colloquial sign AA v × . (The right fist moves downward in an arc, finishing with the ball of the thumb pressed on the nail of the left thumb. Most likely the arc-downward sig, which may actually cross in front of the face, is a vestige of the first element of the compound.) But while both informants in the filmed sequence use this colloquial form of the sign, both use it in ways which visibly contrast, and the order of the sign in each utterance is not the determining factor. To clarify the discussion, let us make an anticipatory jump and say that one of the two uses is equivalent to the English sentence, 2 Re 3 mém ber 3 ||; and the other to 3 Î 2 re 3 mém ber 1 #. The double- SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 46