Struggle and Compromise Between the Striving for Transparency and the Tendency for Ease of Performance in the Semiotic Phonology of Israeli Sign Language

Orit Fuks, Yishai Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The phonology of Israeli Sign Language (ISL), unlike the phonology of spoken Israeli Hebrew, is a semiotic phonology. The signed word is built on meaningful basic 'building blocks' that function as morphophonemic units in the language. As a result, in the Semiotic Phonology of ISL the basic preference of the human factor to expend minimal physical effort (ease of performance) may conflict with the desire to reach minimal mental effort (transparency/economy). In the present study, we analyze various phenomena such as: frequency of occurrence of the base units in the lexicon, the possibility to omit disfavored articulators, and the number of sets of muscles that are activated at the time of signing. All these phenomena indicate that the iconic factor is extremely dominant in explaining processes that influence the phonology of ISL. The findings of this study raise interesting theoretical questions regarding the indices by which one should determine the marked and the unmarked units of signed language. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Lexical Access
  • Oral Communication
  • Phonology
  • Sign Language
  • Language

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