SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 78

Line in ASL Poetry Valli last sign. This arrangement of NMS is repeated in the second line. In addition, the rightward orientation of the body remains the same in both lines. Regarding the question of line divisions, a line division is identified by looking at rhyming patterns and finding their repetition. In Figure 3 note the movements in the last segments in both lines. They are similar, both go downward. The movement path rhyme functions as a line terminator. Similarly, in Figure 4, the handshape rhymes in both of the last segments represent another kind of line terminator. Also, the NMS in Figure 3 and Figure 4 in both last segments are similar, showing another sort of line terminator. This is called line division rhyme. In any last segment, hand configuration, movement, or NMS may involve repetition. That repetition verifies our earlier observation as to where the line could be broken. Thus, the function of rhyme in marking line divisions make it clear that it is poetry rather than prose, which does not display this kind of phenomenon. It begins to look very much like "verse", which rhymes at the end of lines. Four different kinds of rhymes are found in ASL poetry: handshape rhyme, movement path rhyme, NMS rhyme, and line division rhyme. They are not exact analogies to alliteration, assonance, and line termination because of the structural differences between sign and speech. Rhythm Rhyme and line division in ASL poetry have been explained. I would like to add some information about rhythm as I have observed it in citation forms, prose, and poetry. Rhythm is metrical movement determined by various relations of long and short or accented and unaccented syllables, measured flow of words and phrases in poetry or prose (Fussell, 1965; Lanz, 1968; Guggenheimer, 1972). Stresses and pauses are part of rhythmic movement. Citation forms seem to show more stress and pause than prose or poetry, while prose seems to indicate less stress and pause than citation forms or poetry. Poetry seems to incorporate movements found both in citation forms and prose. I suggest that further study of rhythm in citation forms, prose and poetry is needed. Conclusion ASL poetry is videotaped and performed by a number of poets, but there is no definition of the nature of the poetry. With the help of linguistic analyzes of ASL and poetic analysis derived from the analysis of spoken language poetry, the results of an in-depth study of the nature of a line in ASL poetry have been presented in this paper. Rhyme and line division have been focused on in this study since the identification of a line in an ASL poem is difficult to interpret. For sign language the eye has power to identify the movement of visual signals. Visual movement depends on body movement which has structured, sequential components. Such components are each composed of a number of parts. This study focused on different features of a sign: hand configuration, movement, and nonmanual signals. Examining these features contributed to the identification of the nature of rhyme and line division in two ASL poems. I am certain that other ASL poems will exhibit a poetic structure that is equally rich and intriguing. The analysis of ASL literature, and of the language and traditions of deaf peoples is a promising and fruitful field of scholarship. SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 78