Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Sign Language Studies


The work presented here considers some linguistic methods used in sign anthropomorphism. We find a cline of signed anthropomorphism that depends on a number of factors, including the skills and intention of the signer, the animacy of the entities represented, the form of their bodies, and the form of vocabulary signs referring to those entities. We consider four main factors that allow signers to anthropomorphize the whole range of entities (from animate to inanimate): the linguistic base that allows such play, the ability of the nonmanuals to anthropomorphize even when the manual articulators are signing in an ordinary way, the range of possibilities for both manual and nonmanual articulators when the signer engages in (almost) complete embodiment of the nonhuman character, and how nonhumans are portrayed as communicating via sign language.


Posted by permission of the publisher from R. Sutton-Spence, Donna Jo Napoli, "Anthropomorphism In Sign Languages: A Look At Poetry And Storytelling With A Focus On British Sign Language," Sign Language Studies, volume 10, issue 4 (2010): 442-475. Copyright 2010 by Gallaudet University.

Included in

Linguistics Commons