Glossary (Version 8.4)

The five physical features that describe how a single sign is produced: handshape, movement and location (main parameters), and orientation of handshape and non-manual features (minor parameters).

Signs with a form that is not fully specified that is, the handshape, movement and/or location can change, as in the case of pointing signs (direction or handshape can be modified), or depicting signs (movement and location are often created on the spot).

Movement of the hands from one location in space to another while producing a sign.

The view that deafness is solely a pathology or medical deficit, to be ameliorated by medical or technological interventions and intensive habilitation of speech and audition. The pathological model discourages the use of signed languages and of educational or social settings which bring deaf people together.

A term that references the highly visual nature of deaf people.

The visual and kinesthetic means by which signers receive/produce signs

The use of the language in real situations, putting language knowledge into practice. Performance involves accuracy, fluency and complexity.

The study of how context affects communication, for example, in relation to the status of participants, the situation in which the communication is happening or the intention of the speaker.

One of the two elements of communication through language (see Receptive language), involving the ability to express, articulate and produce utterances or texts in the target language.

Changes in facial expression and other NMFs, such as the duration of signs, eye-gaze, head and torso position, pausing with or without a hold of a sign, tension of hands and eye closure; used for many purposes, such as to mark clauses and their relationships, to accentuate or diminish emphasis and to regulate turn-taking.

Principles and customs which guide behavior; systems of cultural and social rules specific to a linguistic and cultural community.

The use of space, posture and touch as elements of communication.