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The Geometry of Visual Phonology cover

The Geometry of Visual Phonology

Linda Ann N. Uyechi

This work is based on the premise that a theory of visual phonology must depend on the propertiesof the signs themselves to reveal their underlying structure. To that end, drawings of signs from American Sign Language (ASL) are accompanied by written descriptions to allow both non-signers and experts to follow the arguments for each construct and principle adopted into the model. The result is the discovery of the underlying geometry of sign structures in which the manual articulators are modeled as rigid bodies and the signing space as a set of embedded rectangular prisms. The static and dynamic properties of signs are captured by new constructs, the transition unit ance cell, that callinto question the primacy of the segment and syllable. Unlike previous work that seeks to extend the segment and syllable to signed languages, this work ssets the stage for signed languages to provide independent evidence for the general organizational principles of a universal theory of phonology.

Linda Uyechi was a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University at the time of this publication.


  • Preface
  • 1 The Geometry of Visual Phonology
    • 1.1 Sign and Speech
    • 1.2 Visual Phonology
    • 1.3 A Guide to the Thesis

  • 2 Hand Prism
    • 2.1 Sign Parameters
    • 2.2 Hands that Move
    • 2.3 Handshape
    • 2.4 Hand Orientation

  • 3 Signing Space
    • 3.1 Local Signing Space
    • 3.2 Global Signing Space
    • 3.3 Discourse Signing Space
    • 3.4 Location and Orientation
    • 3.5 Signing Space, Location, and Orientation

  • 4 The Transition Unit
    • 4.1 Change in Location
    • 4.2 Change in Handshape
    • 4.3 Change in Orientation

  • 5 The Cell
    • 5.1 Simple Signs
    • 5.2 Agreement Verbs
    • 5.3 Transition Unit and Cell

  • 6 Segment and Syllable
    • 6.1 Consonants, Vowels, and Syllables
    • 6.2 Segments and Features
    • 6.3 Feature Geometry and Segments

  • 7 A Different Mode
    • 7.1 The Geometry of Visual Phonology
    • 7.2 The Phonology of Visual Geometry
    • 7.3 Segment, Syllable, Transition Unit, Cell
    • 7.4 Universal Phonology

  • Bibliography
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575860120 (9781575860121)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575860139 (9781575860138)
ISBN (Electronic): 1575867346 (9781575867342)
Subject: Linguistics; Sign Language; American Sign Language

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