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Sign language in Burma: Yangon Sign language and its relationship with spoken Burmese

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The relationship between sign languages and spoken language is a complex one. The lexicon of signed languages includes items borrowed and adapted from spoken languages, in addition to conventionalised gestures and iconic signs.

Once lexicalised, signs have a tendency to become less iconic over time. Signers are often diglossic, using language forms with more or less reference to a spoken language depending on the context in which the communication is taking place.

This talk looks at the relationship between Yangon Sign Language and spoken Burmese using data from preliminary work for a planned project documenting the lexicon of the sign languages of Burma.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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