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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an overview of the linguistic properties of a natural sign language variety used by members of the Deaf communities in Hong Kong -- Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL). Historically, this language is a natural outgrowth of an indigenous, local variety that came into contact with the sign language varieties of Shanghai and Nanjing in the 1940s when groups of Deaf signers from China came to settle in Hong Kong and established signing schools for the deaf. Analyzing Hong Kong Sign Language, one can discern that simultaneity plays a more prominent role in the linguistic organization of sign language grammar at levels of phonology, morphology, and syntax. To account for this phenomenon, the visual-spatial modality and body parts as articulators, primarily the two hands and the head with facial muscles encourage the co-temporal organization and processing of linguistic properties of natural sign languages.

Keywords: deaf communities, Hong Kong Sign Language, sign language grammar, schools for the deaf, simultaneity, visual-spatial modality, body parts, articulators

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