Iconicity in Chinese Sign Language and Filipino Sign Language

  •  Jianwei Wang    


Sign language is primarily used as a means of communication by the deaf and hard of hearing. Iconicity is considered as its typical feature. This paper makes a preliminary comparison on lexical items between Chinese Sign Language (CSL) and Filipino Sign Language (FSL) through examining the iconic devices used by the CSL and FSL signs. The study provides some valuable evidence that the iconicity is prevalent in CSL and FSL which always use similar iconic device for the same concept due to shared embodied experience though different iconic devices are occasionally used. These iconic devices include direct (1) presentation; (2) number representation; (3) shape representation; (4) movement representation (5) size representation; (6) part-for-whole representation; (7) metonymic/metaphorical representation. The findings of the research could help to reveal the relationship between language and cognition and make some contributions to the communications among the deaf and hard of hearing in both Chian and the Philippines.

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