Language standardization and sign language dictionaries

Trevor Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The issue of the use of signed language dictionaries in the standardization of signed languages is discussed with reference to the Australian Sign Language (Auslan) dictionaries. First I describe language standardization as broadly understood in the context of written and unwritten languages, on the one hand, and signed and spoken languages on the other. I then describe the distinctive situation of deaf community signed languages and the types of dictionaries that have recently been produced of these languages and the limitations. I detail the structure of the Auslan dictionaries and argue that bilingual, bidirectional dictionaries of this type must be produced first if communities are to encourage language standardization in a meaningful and informed way. I conclude that the Internet provides a means of recording and displaying signed language lexicons in widely dispersed signing communities in a way that may facilitate language standardization in a grassroots manner, rather than being imposed on the community in the form of a prescriptive publication.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-468
    Number of pages38
    JournalSign Language Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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