Pointing to the body

Kin signs in Australian Indigenous sign languages

Jennifer Green, Anastasia Bauer, Alice Rose Gaby, Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Kinship plays a central role in organizing interaction and other social
behaviors in Indigenous Australia. The spoken lexicon of kinship has been
the target of extensive consideration by anthropologists and linguists alike.
Less well explored, however, are the kin categories expressed through sign
languages (notwithstanding the pioneering work of Adam Kendon). This
paper examines the relational categories codified by the kin signs of four
language-speaking groups from different parts of the Australian continent:
the Anmatyerr from Central Australia; the Yolŋu from North East Arnhem
Land; the Kuuk Thaayorre from Cape York and the Ngaanyatjarra/Ngaatjatjarra
from the Western Desert. The purpose of this examination is twofold.
Firstly, we compare the etic kin relationships expressed by kin signs with
their spoken equivalents. In all cases, categorical distinctions made in the
spoken system are systematically merged in the sign system. Secondly, we
consider the metonymic relationships between the kin categories expressed
in sign
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalGesture
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • sign language
  • Australian Indigenous languages
  • kinship
  • bimodal contact
  • body

Cite this

Green, Jennifer ; Bauer, Anastasia ; Gaby, Alice Rose ; Ellis, Elizabeth Marrkilyi. / Pointing to the body : Kin signs in Australian Indigenous sign languages. In: Gesture. 2018 ; Vol. 17, No. 1. pp. 1-36.
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Pointing to the body : Kin signs in Australian Indigenous sign languages. / Green, Jennifer; Bauer, Anastasia; Gaby, Alice Rose; Ellis, Elizabeth Marrkilyi.

In: Gesture, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2018, p. 1-36.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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