Multi-channel signs in BSL

One interesting aspect of BSL grammar is multi-channel signs; these are special signs where both manual (i.e. using your hands) and non-manual (e.g. facial expressions, lip patterns etc) actions are combined to form a single sign. In my BSL course on Tuesday we covered over 80 different examples of multi-channel signs and also discussed how they fit into BSL sentence structure. In general, multi-channel signs seem to be positioned after the verb part of a sentence (see my previous post on word ordering). For example, consider the sentence “I haven’t bought a new jacket for ages”. There’s a multi-channel sign for ages, so this could be translated to “Jacket new buy ages”.

By the way, today my friend Ben was on See Hear as one of the 4 selected deaf faces of 2008 – take a look.

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5 thoughts on “Multi-channel signs in BSL

  1. i had not known how to explain multi-channel signs well even though i’ve used these since when i was a baby… now i know, and i can point people who are interested in “super” signs, or “smart” signs (to others, this is a technology term with a specific meaning! – integration of things into one), if you like, to this post. thanks Gareth πŸ™‚

  2. nice entry on MCS πŸ™‚ im doing research on MCS (the term itself is debated by sign linguists – deaf linguists agree that there is a concept however further research is needed).Say hi to our Ben for me

  3. Thanks Shane – did this quite a while ago but hopefully got the concept roughly correct! Would be interested to hear the outcome of your research.

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