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Towards an understanding of contextual features that influence the linguistic formality of British Sign Language users

Rudge, Luke

Authors

Luke Rudge Luke2.Rudge@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics



Abstract

This paper seeks to understand linguistic formality through the identification and measurement of contextual features. Using an adapted sociometric methodology to combine systemic functional linguistics and sign linguistics, a survey identifies the elements of context that have an effect upon the level of linguistic formality employed by British Sign Language users. The responses of 51 participants are analysed in order to ascertain (i) the level of linguistic formality that would be employed in certain communicative scenarios, and (ii) the contextual features of these scenarios that have an influence on linguistic formality. The results obtained from this study posit that there is an overall agreement shared between British Sign Language users when choosing levels of linguistic formality based on broad contextual description alone. The people involved in the communication and their interpersonal relationships tend to be the biggest influence on the level of formality employed, whereas the topic of the interaction appears to show no significant influence upon linguistic formality on its own. This work contributes further evidence to the importance of studying language within communicative contexts and the importance of formality as an influential factor in linguistic production. It is hoped that this will encourage future studies to derive linguistic data of British Sign Language users, or indeed

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 23, 2015
Journal Functional Linguistics
Publisher SpringerOpen
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 11
Institution Citation Rudge, L. (2015). Towards an understanding of contextual features that influence the linguistic formality of British Sign Language users. Functional Linguistics, 2(11), https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-015-0023-8
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-015-0023-8
Keywords context, British Sign Language, formality, systemic functional linguistics
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40554-015-0023-8

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