Showing the story: enactment as performance in Auslan narratives

Gabrielle Hodge, Lindsay Ferrara

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    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 Vaughan
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    PublisherUniversity of Melbourne
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Print)9780994150707
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventConference of the Australian Linguistic Society (44th : 2013) - Melbourne
    Duration: 1 Oct 20134 Oct 2013


    ConferenceConference of the Australian Linguistic Society (44th : 2013)


    • Auslan
    • Sign language
    • Enactment
    • Constructed action
    • Performance
    • Corpus


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