- Series Information
- About the Editors
- List of Tables
- List of Figures
- The Study of Language and Society
- Variationist Sociolinguistics
- Linguistic Anthropology
- Doers and Makers: The Interwoven Stories of Sociology and the Study of Language
- Critical Discourse Analysis
- Conversation Analysis
- The Intersections of Language Socialization and Sociolinguistics
- Psycholinguistic Approaches
- Interdisciplinary Approaches
- Studies of the Community and the Individual
- Experimental Methods for Measuring Intelligibility of Closely Related Language Varieties
- Quantitative Analysis
- Analyzing Qualitative Data: Mapping the Research Trajectory in Multilingual Contexts
- Longitudinal Studies
- Methods for Studying Sign Languages
- Pidgins and Creoles
- Language Maintenance and Shift
- Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition
- Sign Language Contact
- Phonology and Sociolinguistics
- Morphosyntactic Variation
- Pragmatics and Variationist Sociolinguistics
- Variation and Change
- Sociolinguistic Variation and Change in Sign Languages
- Language Policy, Ideology, and Attitudes in English-Dominant Countries
- English in Language Policies and Ideologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Vernacularization
- Language Policy and Ideology: Greater China
- Language Policies and Politics in South Asia
- Language Policy and Ideology in Latin America
- Language Policy, Ideology, and Attitudes Key Issues in Western Europe
- Language Management in the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and Post-Soviet Countries
- Language Ideologies, Policies, and Attitudes toward Signed Languages
- Language and Law
- Our Stories, Ourselves: Can the Culture of a Large Medical School Be Changed without Open Heart Surgery?
- Sociolinguistic Studies of Signed Language Interpreting
- Language Awareness in Community Perspective: Obligation and Opportunity
- Linguistic and Ecological Diversity
- Language Revitalization
- Sociolinguistics and Social Activism
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter describes sociolinguistic variation and change in sign languages, the natural language of deaf communities. Factors that drive sociolinguistic variation and change in both spoken- and signed-language communities are broadly similar. Social factors include, for example, a signer’s age group, region of origin, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Linguistic factors include phonological processes such as assimilation and reduction, and grammaticalization. Deaf signing communities are invariably minority communities embedded within larger majority communities whose languages are in another entirely different modality, and which may have written systems and extensive written literatures, unlike sign languages. The chapter exemplifies sociolinguistic variation in signed languages at the levels of phonology, lexicon, and grammar.
Adam Schembri is Associate Professor and Director of both the National Institute for Deaf Studies and Sign Language and the Centre for Research on Language Diversity at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He published work on the lexicon, grammar and sociolinguistics of Australian Sign Language and British Sign Language.
Trevor Johnston is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. In the 1980s he identified and named Auslan (Australian Sign Language), securing its recognition by educators and governments. Since then he has led in the documentation and description of the language (sketch grammar, dictionaries, research articles, introductory textbook, and linguistic corpora).
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