Phonological Structure Of Sign Language

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Sign language linguistics has not been a field in its own since 1960s, when the investigation researches started from a linguistic perspective about sign languages. Sign language was considered as a gesture-based aid only for communicating with people, not a whole language. While the early researches were focusing on explaining the fact that sign languages are not only simple languages, but an equivalent to spoken languages and having the same characteristics as the spoken. The researchers investigated the phonological structure of sign language (specifically American Sign Language) by using traditional linguistic tools. In earliest decades, researchers analyzed deeply in order to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure also of the sign language, and investigated the acquisition and the use of it as well. With time, they started applying the theoretical models for spoken language to the sign language, and hence, they introduced new models for sign languages’ syntax and phonology. After that, a cross- linguistic research has become more popular, and on different social environments, such as urban and village sign languages, as well as cross-modal comparisons with spoken languages. Education and interpreting have become the two basic areas of applied linguistics fields, as has the artistic use in the study of sign language (e.g., poetry). Finally, sign language has joined to the scope of research of neurolinguistics also. (Borstell, Sandler, and Aronoff 2014) The

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