Sign language varieties of Indonesia: A linguistic and sociolinguistic investigation.

Palfreyman, Nick orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9095-4937 (2015) Sign language varieties of Indonesia: A linguistic and sociolinguistic investigation. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Until now there has been no robust (socio)linguistic documentation of urban sign language varieties in Indonesia, and given the size of the Indonesian archipelago, it might be expected that these varieties are very different from each other. In this kind of situation, sign linguists have often applied lexicostatistical methods, but two such studies in Indonesia have recently produced contradictory results.
Instead, this investigation uses conceptual and methodological approaches from linguistic typology and Variationist Sociolinguistics, contextualised by a sociohistorical account of the Indonesian sign community. The grammatical domains of completion and negation are analysed using a corpus of spontaneous data from two urban centres, Solo and Makassar.
Four completive particles occur in both varieties, alongside clitics and the expression of completion through mouthings alone. The realisations of two variables, one lexical and one grammatical, are predicted by factors including the syntactic and functional properties of the variant, and younger Solonese signers are found to favour completive clitics. The reasons for intra-individual persistence and variation are also discussed.
Negation is expressed through particles, clitics, suppletives, and the simultaneous mouthing of predicates with negative particles. These paradigmatic variants occur in both varieties, with small differences in the sets of particles and suppletives for each variety. The realisations of four variables are found to be conditioned by factors including predicate type, sub-function, and the use of constructed dialogue. The gender of the signer is found to correlate with the syntactic order of negative and predicate; younger Solonese signers are also found to favour negative clitics and suppletives.
The similarities revealed between the Solo and Makassar varieties are discussed with reference to the history of contact between sign sub-communities across the archipelago. The investigation concludes with a discussion of factors that favour and disfavour the convergence of urban sign language varieties.

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