Signs of change

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Presented by Micky Vale; Rachel McKee

Lectures, talks and seminars

LALS Seminar Series

4 Sep 2020 4:10 pm to 4 Sep 2020 5:00 pm

KKLT 301

Two studies of change in New Zealand Sign Language report on global influences and show how crowdsourcing is used to document new signs

Part 1: An online community space for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) users to share and discuss new signs

The lexicon of NZSL is changing and expanding rapidly due to increased participation of NZSL users in new domains. New signs that arise in these domains may need to be discussed and disseminated more quickly than traditional dictionary validation processes allow. NZSL Share was launched in March 2020 as a Deaf community driven online platform for neologisms and other previously undocumented signs. We will demonstrate some of the functions of NZSL Share, give examples of emerging new signs, and outline our plans for using NZSL Share in research and NZSL documentation.

Part 2: Globalisation in the NZSL lexicon

Small languages are susceptible to external inputs into variation and change. Since the 2000s, NZSL users’ virtual and physical exposure to sign languages beyond New Zealand has accelerated - in particular, to American Sign Language (ASL), which is dominant in Deaf cyberspace and carries prestige associated with higher education and international mobility. We report on a recent study that examined the presence of ASL variants in NZSL users’ repertoires and community ideologies about naturalised v. foreign status of loans, and attitudes to global influence in a language identified as emblematic of NZ Deaf identity.

For more information contact: Victoria Chen