Regional Sign Language Varieties in Contact: Investigating Patterns of Accommodation

Rose Stamp, Adam Schembri, Bronwen G. Evans, Kearsy Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Short-term linguistic accommodation has been observed in a number of spoken language studies. The first of its kind in sign language research, this study aims to investigate the effects of regional varieties in contact and lexical accommodation in British Sign Language (BSL). Twenty-five participants were recruited from Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, and Newcastle and paired with the same conversational partner. Participants completed a "spot-the-difference" task which elicited a considerable amount of contrasting regionally specific sign data in the participant-confederate dyads. Accommodation was observed during the task with younger signers accommodating more than older signers. The results are interpreted with reference to the relationship between language contact and lexical accommodation in BSL, and address how further studies could help us better understand how contact and accommodation contribute to language change more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Some of the data for this study were collected as part of the British Sign Language Corpus Project, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (Grant RES-062-23-0825 and postgraduate award, Stamp, 2013). Additional work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council of Great Britain (RES-620-28-6001 and RES-620-28-0002) Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


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