Seeing sentence boundaries

Jordan Fenlon, Tanya Denmark, Ruth Campbell, Bencie Woll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Linguists have suggested that non-manual and manual markers are used in sign languages to indicate prosodic and syntactic boundaries. However, little is known about how native signers interpret non-manual and manual cues with respect to sentence boundaries. Six native signers of British Sign Language (BSL) were asked to mark sentence boundaries in two narratives: one presented in BSL and one in Swedish Sign Language (SSL). For comparative analysis, non-signers undertook the same tasks. Results indicated that both native signers and non-signers were able to use visual cues effectively in segmentation and that their decisions were not dependent on knowledge of the signed language. Signed narratives contain visible cues to their prosodic structure which are available to signers and non-signers alike.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-200
Number of pages24
JournalSign Language and Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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