Posted by: learnsignlanguage | May 7, 2010

Placement in British Sign Language

Working with placement in BSL

There are many grammatical features within British Sign Language which placement is only one of them.

Placement is used in relation to the placing or establishing of signs in space. The signer locates or places particular referents within the signing space in different types of relationship with the signer and with the other referents.

Some linguists describe this in terms of the establishment of a spacial locus (literally ‘the place where something occurs’) or loci (the ‘places where things occur) Once a locus has been established in space the signer may use various means, including eye gaze and directional verbs to refer back to this place. Therefore the placement has an important grammatical function in the language.

So for example once a signer has set up the ‘placement’ of a particular sign- i.e. ‘the house is over there’  by signing the word ‘house’ and ‘putting it in a space in front of you’ – i.e. ‘placing it’  then the signer can use his eye gaze and directional verbs to make reference to this particular sign.

Don’t worry if this sounds complicated! It will become a lot clearer as you start to learn British Sign Language and put what you see and learn into practise.  



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