SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 51

Sign Language Structure Stokoe, Jr. function class, as well as etymologies based on structural and historical principles and approximate translations. Moreover, the analysis here presented seems to offer a sound basis, whatever its faults and inconsistencies, for further analysis and description of the structure of this unique, most useful, and linguistically interesting language. Perhaps it is not futile to hope that this work and what it will lead to may eventually make necessary the change of a famous definition to read: ‘A language is a system of arbitrary symbols by means of which persons in a culture carry on the total activity of that culture.’ Important as speech and hearing are in human culture, the symbol using capacity in man is anterior, as this symbol system of those deprived of hearing demonstrates. 4.1. Glossary of Terms ALLOCHER, any one of that set of configurations, movements, or positions, i.e. cheremes, which signal identically in the language. ASPECT, a structural division (analogous to ‘segment’) of sign language activity, into constituents for position, configuration, and motion (analogous to ‘vowels’ and ‘consonants’). ASPECTUAL CHEREME, a tab, dez, or sig (see below). CHEREME, that set of positions, configurations, or motions which function identically in the language; the structure point of sign language (analogous to ‘phoneme’). CHEROLOGY, the structure, and its analysis, of the isolates or units of the phenomenon level of the sign language of the deaf. DEZ, designator; that configuration of the hand or hands which makes a significant motion in a significant position. FINGER SPELLING, communication activity involving perception of or presentation of successive hand configurations representing the letters (and ampersand) of English orthography. GESTURE, unanalyzed communicative movement. MANUAL ALPHABET, a set of 19 configurations, three orientations, and two movements which give 27 visible symbols for the alphabet and ampersand, used for communication by deaf, and by deaf-blind persons who have a knowledge of a language and its writing system. SIG, signation; the motion component or aspect of sign language activity; specifically motion of a significant configuration (dez) in a significant position (tab). SIGN, the smallest unit of sign language to which lexical meaning attaches (analogous to ‘word’); one of the two kinds of morphemes out of which sign language utterances are constructed (the other being the finger-spelled English word). SIMULTANEOUS METHOD, a communicative activity, the official teaching medium at Gallaudet College, in which the speaker at the same time speaks (with or without audible voice) and signs utterances which are a translation of each other. TAB, tabula; the position marking aspect of sign language activity; specifically the position in which a significant configuration (dez) makes a significant movement (sig). SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 51