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Contents

Proposed Language

BANZSL, or British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language, is the language of which British Sign Language (BSL), Auslan and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) may be considered dialects. These three languages may technically be considered dialects of a single language (BANZSL) due to their use of the same grammar, manual alphabet, and the high degree of lexical sharing (overlap of signs). The term BANZSL was coined by Trevor Johnston and Adam Schembri.

BSL, Auslan and NZSL all have their roots in a deaf sign language used in Britain during the 19th century.

American Sign Language and BANZSL are ostensibly unrelated sign languages, and share far fewer signs. However there is still a significant overlap, probably due largely to relatively recent borrowing of lexicon by signers of all three dialects of BANZSL, with many younger signers unaware which signs are recent imports.

Auslan, BSL and NZSL have 82% of signs identical (using concepts from a Swadesh list). When considering identical as well as similar or related signs there are 98% cognate signs between the languages. By comparison, ASL and BANZSL have only 31% signs identical, or 44% cognate.

The term BANZSL is not meant to replace the terms BSL, Auslan and NZSL. While each dialect retains its individuality, they may be referred to collectively as BANZSL.

Language Family

BANZSL Family
Geographic
distribution:
Great Britain, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Maritimes, Australia and New Zealand.
Genetic
classification
:
One of the world's major sign language families
Subdivisions:

BANZSL could also be used as the name of the language family to which BSL, Auslan, NZSL and others are under.

References

  • Johnston, T. (2002). BSL, Auslan and NZSL: Three signed languages or one? In A. Baker, B. van den Bogaerde & O. Crasborn (Eds.), "Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research: Selected papers from TISLR 2000" (pp. 47-69). Hamburg: Signum Verlag.
  • McKee, D. & G. Kennedy (2000). Lexical Comparison of Signs from American, Australian, British, and New Zealand Sign Languages. In K. Emmorey and H. Lane (Eds), "The signs of language revisited: an anthology to honor Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima". Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

See also


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