Sign dialect?...

Audiofuzzy

Well-Known Member
I was watching "Bones" episode "The Signs in The Silence" with a deaf girl as main character,
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR0Wc-fWAak]Bones 6x21 The signs in the silence promotional photos - YouTube[/ame]

and during the search for her identity Bones claims she can tell where the girl is from by the way she is signing.


She said to Angela "signing is like a dialect"...
and pointing at the signing girl:

"forehead level citation form indicates someone from rural area"

and this is how they arrived at the conclusion that the girl is from
southern Pennsylvania.

Is it true?
Is the way you sign indicative where are you from?

Fuzzy
 

mbrek

Active Member
Premium Member
I think it can show where you learned to sign. And I'm thinking those lines are going to blur a bit more in the coming years due to internet learning vs. local learning.
 

Audiofuzzy

Well-Known Member
Oh, really?

So, it does show if you learned to sign, say, in NY or Colorado or Mississippi
or either Dakota?

Fuzzy
 

Anij

Well-Known Member
Oh, really?

So, it does show if you learned to sign, say, in NY or Colorado or Mississippi
or either Dakota?

Fuzzy
Yes, very much like a spoken accent can indicate where you learned to speak that language (or spent a lot of time), sign varies slightly from area to area.

Of course as the internet an VRS etc grows these dialect distinctions become less and less.

I'm in Canada, and I've actually spent the last 5months in a different province (than my permanently residence, where I learned ASL) and some of the variations between provinces are quite distinct - there is also entirely different signs/vocabulary for a number of things, which took a bit of getting used to.
 

Audiofuzzy

Well-Known Member
This is very interesting, and does make sense.

I knew there is signing difference between countries, but local? I had no idea.

How about the girl in the Bones episode?
Is she truly deaf? she does look like she is.

Anybody know her or of her ?

Fuzzy
 

jillio

New Member
This is very interesting, and does make sense.

I knew there is signing difference between countries, but local? I had no idea.

How about the girl in the Bones episode?
Is she truly deaf? she does look like she is.

Anybody know her or of her ?

Fuzzy
Same way different areas have different accents in their speech and their own version of slang and colloquialisms. Holds true for ASL. In fact, that is one of the criteria that was used to determine that ASL has all the functions of a true language.

Don't know her. But if she isn't deaf, she has been around deafness.
 

deafskeptic

Active Member
Premium Member
Yes, very much like a spoken accent can indicate where you learned to speak that language (or spent a lot of time), sign varies slightly from area to area.

Of course as the internet an VRS etc grows these dialect distinctions become less and less.

I'm in Canada, and I've actually spent the last 5months in a different province (than my permanently residence, where I learned ASL) and some of the variations between provinces are quite distinct - there is also entirely different signs/vocabulary for a number of things, which took a bit of getting used to.
Yeah. When I moved to Charlotte NC, I noticed the deaf talking about driving the grass. :crazy: WTF? Why on earth would people drive the grass? Turns out it's a regional sign for driving trucks.
 

Tousi

Well-Known Member
From the OP: "forehead level citation form indicates someone from rural area"

What the heck does that even mean????
 

jillio

New Member
Yes, very much like a spoken accent can indicate where you learned to speak that language (or spent a lot of time), sign varies slightly from area to area.

Of course as the internet an VRS etc grows these dialect distinctions become less and less.

I'm in Canada, and I've actually spent the last 5months in a different province (than my permanently residence, where I learned ASL) and some of the variations between provinces are quite distinct - there is also entirely different signs/vocabulary for a number of things, which took a bit of getting used to.
And not just state to state, but down to regions of that state, too, many times.
 

mbrek

Active Member
Premium Member
And the thought that you can pinpoint a person down with their ASL isn't quite the sure thing the tv show seems to be indicating. People move. Maybe a child living in Utah learns sign from her parents who originated from Georgia? But while ASL is regional, to be able to pinpoint and say "that's where this person came from" is just Hollywood playacting.
 

Journey

New Member
Citation forms refers to how a specific sign is illustrated in a dictionary. Think of the sign for "remember" for example. In an ASL dictionary the sign is shown to originate at the forehead - 'forehead level citation'. However, you will find some people who sign it starting lower down on the face (ie: near cheek). Perfectly acceptable but not exactly how the dictionary illustrates it - this is noncitation form. Often you find more noncitation asl amongst younger populations. So, I'm thinking maybe based on the fact that she is young and yet signs forehead citation, they assumed she has not had a lot of interaction with a lot of other deaf people (particularly young ones and therefore is probably from a rural area?
 

jillio

New Member
And the thought that you can pinpoint a person down with their ASL isn't quite the sure thing the tv show seems to be indicating. People move. Maybe a child living in Utah learns sign from her parents who originated from Georgia? But while ASL is regional, to be able to pinpoint and say "that's where this person came from" is just Hollywood playacting.
Of course it isn't 100%, but it is a relatively accurate indicator of general area. Sure narrows things down from the entire geopgraphical U.S. lol But again, we are talking about entertainment, and I think I mentioned before that it is very dangerous to take anything presented in an entertainment format as fact.
 

posts from hell

New Member
Yes I know of a few signs where you can pinpoint it to a certain town. If I ever see these signs I know EXACTLY where the person lived/went to school.
 

naisho

Forum Disorders M.D.,Ph.D
Fuzzy, if you have intentions to take ASL101 I believe these are one of the key topics they will cover for you sometime in the semester. :P

There are a lot of what I believe it's just commonly referred to as 'regional signs'.
jillio covered it straightforward, it doesn't explicitly mean that it's different from state to state, the difference can be as small as city to city or community to community.
 
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