Politeness in British Sign Language: the effects of language contact
Mapson, R. (2013) Politeness in British Sign Language: the effects of language contact, pp. 167-170, London.
In the UK, language contact issues are reflected in the use of British Sign Language (BSL) in a society dominated by the use of English. The effects of language contact on BSL are a legacy of linguistic suppression and have sometimes been described in terms of a continuum, representing the differing degrees of linguistic influence from English (Lawson, 1981). This influence may result in syntactic and lexical alterations in the way BSL is performed, with English borrowings occurring either through the use of fingerspelled words or the adoption of English mouthings to accompany manual signs (Sutton-Spence, 1999). This paper discusses some of these effects as they pertain to linguistic politeness in BSL. The research forms part of a study designed to address the deficit in research into politeness in BSL by exploring what politeness looks like in BSL and the influences on the way in which it is performed.