Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Principles of Sign Linguistics and Signwriting

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION The first part of the study-unit reviews the distinction between language and medium and extend it to a consideration of sign languages. The concepts introduced in general linguistics will be applied to the study of sign languages. The study-unit focuses mainly on phonology, morphology and syntax and highlights the topic of classifiers. Examples are taken mainly from Maltese Sign Language to enable the students to understand more clearly.

The second part of the study-unit is about the Valerie Sutton system of Signwriting. It has a strong practical component and students are expected to learn to write Maltese Sign Language.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit clarifies the distinction between language and medium by giving an overview of the linguistics of sign languages (and of Maltese Sign Language in particular). Moreover, the SignWriting system is discussed and applied to Maltese Sign Language.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Understand the similarities and differences between the linguistics of spoken and sign languages;
Understand the relationship between the modality and the structure of sign languages;
Understand the principles of the morphology and syntax of sign languages.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Discuss the structure of Maltese Sign Language and to transcribe it using SignWriting;
Write Maltese Sign Language using the Sutton SignWriting system.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Valli, C., Lucas, C. Mulrooney, K.J., Villanueva, M. (2011) Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction Univ. of Northern Co
Johnston, J & Schembri, A.(2007) Australian Sign Language: An Introduction to Sign Language Linguistics Cambridge University Press
Sutton-Spence, R. & Woll, B. (1999) The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction Cambridge University Press

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-units: LIN1017 or its equivalent


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 50%
Take Home Examination SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Maria Galea

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.