Showing the story: Enactment as performance in Auslan narratives

Gabrielle Hodge, Lindsay N. Ferrara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Language use may be understood as creative and partly improvised performance. For example, during face-to-face interaction, both signers and speakers coordinate manual and non-manual semiotic resources to enact characters, events and points of view. Here we present an early exploration of how enactments—constructed actions and dialogue that are effectively tokens of improvised performance—are patterned throughout Auslan (Australian sign language) narratives. We compare retellings of Frog, Where Are You? and The Boy Who Cried Wolf that were elicited from native and near-native Auslan signers and archived in the Auslan Corpus. We find commonalities and differences between the two narratives and between individuals that contribute insights into the role of enactment for both signers and speakers. This study aligns with views of face-to-face interaction as a multimodal, highly complex semiotic practice of partly improvised performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelected Papers from the 44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013
EditorsLauren Gawne, Jill Vaughn
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherThe University of Melbourne
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780994150707
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Auslan
  • sign language
  • enactment
  • constructed action
  • performance
  • corpus


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