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Usted es haragan pero vos sos lazy: initialization in Honduran Sign Language

Cahill, Peter T (2012) Usted es haragan pero vos sos lazy: initialization in Honduran Sign Language. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Initialization, an outcome of language contact common to signed languages, has become a global phenomenon. I define initialization as the incorporation of the orthography of a word of a dominant spoken language via the cultural construct of a manual orthography into signs with a semantic correspondence to that word. Despite its being very common within (relatively) well-documented sign languages such as American Sign Language (Padden & Brentari, 2001), Australian Sign Language (Schembri & Johnston, 2007) and Québec Sign Language (Machabée, 1995), the literature on the subject is very small. To assist in expanding the nascent fields of sociolinguistics and anthropology of Deaf communities, ethnographic research involving primarily corpus building, interviews and participant observation was performed within the Deaf community of central Honduras to offer preliminary insights into how the personal and group identities of the Honduran Deaf are negotiated through linguistic interactions. Variable initialization is quite a salient marker because of its use in the diverging sociolects of Deaf Honduras. This poses the questions: what instances of variable initialization exist in the community; how are these variable forms manipulated to construct identities; how does variant initialization mark social differentiation in the community? How are linguistic variation and social differentiation intertwined? Social relationships and individual identity are studied by means of this linguistic marker as language is used to build social meaning. In particular, I argue that linguistic variation is polarizing as variant initialization is used to both reflect and justify the social division of the community into central and peripheral.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cahill, Peter
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMauk, Claudecemauk@pitt.eduCEMAUK
Committee CoChairStickney, Helenhes41@pitt.eduHES41
Committee MemberKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberShepard-Kegl,
Date: 24 May 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 February 2012
Approval Date: 24 May 2012
Submission Date: 17 April 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 91
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, Honduran Studies, Deaf Studies, Sign Language Studies, Sign Linguistics, Communities of Practice, Initialization, Language Variation, Sociology of Language, Central America, Latin America
Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 17:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:57


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