gbvy[W@@Sign Language Research@@Elucidation of Vocabulary Structure of the Sign Language

2005/08/05`@@@

Elucidation of Vocabulary Structure of the Sign Language

Nihon University
Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies
Culture and Communication Studies
20000412014@Takemura Sigeru

In this Master's thesis, I researched the structure of the sign language vocabulary. It became the principle of "Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary" by which the meaning of the shape of the sign was identified.

In Chapter 1, gHistory of the Sign language Dictionary,h the researcher took a general view of the history of the Sign language Dictionary of Japan. Most of the books on sign language published in Japan are glossaries, and the ones described as being dictionaries are Japanese/sign-language dictionaries. A Japanese/Sign-language Dictionary and Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary are as necessary for dictionaries on sign language as a Japanese/English Dictionary and English/Japanese Dictionary in dictionaries on English. The researcher showed the prototype in Japan for the first time in the 'Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary' paperback pocket edition in Japan, and the researcher has completed a large edition of the 'Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary'.

In Chapter 2, gThe idea of a Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary,h the researcher explained the basic idea of the Sign-language/Japanese Dictionary and then started to describe the vocabulary structure of the sign language. The signs are divided into signs made by one hand, signs made by both hands of the same type, and signs made by both hands having a strange appearance, and 59 hand patterns were proposed for retrieval use. It was shown that the signs of about 3,000 words could be identified.

In Chapter 3, gPhonology of the sign language,h the researcher took the general view of the phonology of the sign language based on current sign language linguistics that spoken language and sign language have a similar structure. The easiest method of finding the phoneme is to look at the minimum word. The minimum sign language words for gTomorrow,h gYesterday,h gThe day after tomorrow,h and gThe day before yesterdayh were examined, and the feature of the sign language was discussed from the viewpoint of distinctive features and the double articulation theory.

In Chapter 4, gDistinctive features of sign language,h the distinctive feature of the finger character was discussed from the viewpoint of how the Ohzone type finger character widely used in Japan is recognized. Then, the chapter discussed the distinctive features of hand patterns. There are only 22 distinctive features of spoken Japanese. There are only 30 hand patterns, which can be fixed by 163 distinctive features of hand pattern, and 11 remainders are used to point out individual features. This feature of sign language is not found in spoken language. There is a feature with the same right/left shape symmetry. In sign language, visual images are used to transmit information. Basically, when the top and bottom are reversed, the meaning is also reversed. This means that there is a big difference between spoken language and sing language: spoken language whose transmission means is aural images has mutual subjectivity, but sing language whose transmission means is visual images does not have the mutual subjectivity.

In Chapter 5, gPhoneme of sign language,h whether the signs are distinguished by what kind of element is examined in detail. First, the researcher concretely analyzed signs of one hand; signs whose meanings are decided by hand pattern and hand position; signs whose meanings are decided by hand pattern, hand position and hand movement; and signs whose meanings are decided by hand pattern and hand movement. Next, regarding signs made using both hands of the same type, the researcher concretely analyzed the signs of the g,h g,h and gh types. Lastly, signs made using both hands with a strange appearance were considered in terms of the combination pattern of the dominant hand and non-dominant hand. The elements by which the meaning of the signs is hand pattern, the hand position, the hand movement, the combination of both hands, etc., gThe movement of the handh cannot be brought together in a concise system like the phonemes of spoken language by restricting the iconicity.

In Chapter 6, gComplementary Distribution,h it was examined whether the complementary distribution seen in the phonemes of the spoken language existed in the phonemes of the sign language. Japanese does not distinguish between ,, and (allophones used for complementary distribution). A foreigner who speaks another language listens to these sounds, but recognizes them as individually different sounds. The author (who is not a native signer) might receive the allophones that form the complementary distribution that the native signer does not distinguish. It was confirmed that, in some cases, the condition allophone does not appear due to the restriction of iconicity. The iconicity is necessary to describe an object concretely though there must be an easy way to display the shape of the hand or directions depending on the displayed position and directions.

In Chapter 7, gReexamination of Hand Patterns,h hand patterns (phonemes) were reexamined and whether the change type of hand patterns (allophones) appeared by what condition was examined.

Chapter 8, gMorphology of sign,h considered how morphemes united and how compound words were made. It has been understood that successive uniting is done with one hand and simultaneous uniting is done with both hands having a strange appearance.

In the postscript, the researcher took a general view of the discussion about modern sign language and described the role and viewpoint of this research.


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