Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

Prosody and Movement in American Sign Language: A Task-Dynamics Approach

Martha E. Tyrone (1), Hosung Nam (1), Elliot Saltzman (1,2), Gaurav Mathur (3), Louis Goldstein (1,4)

(1) Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT, USA
(2) Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
(3) Department of Linguistics, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., USA
(4) Department of Linguistics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

This study examines prosody in American Sign Language using the theoretical framework of articulatory phonology, which proposes that the basic units of speech are articulatory gestures. We hypothesize that articulatory gestures are also the structural primitives of sign, and we are investigating what the gestures are and how they are timed. Kinematic data are collected as ASL users produce target signs with movements toward or away from the body, in phrase-initial, medial, or final position. Preliminary data suggest that signs are lengthened at phrase boundaries in a manner consistent with the predictions of a task-dynamic model of prosodically induced slowing.

Index Terms: ASL, signed language, task dynamics, articulatory phonology

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tyrone, Martha E. / Nam, Hosung / Saltzman, Elliot / Mathur, Gaurav / Goldstein, Louis (2010): "Prosody and movement in American sign language: a task-dynamics approach", In SP-2010, paper 957.