COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE AMERICAN AND MACEDONIAN SIGN LANGUAGE

Aleksandra KAROVSKA-RISTOVSKA

Abstract


The Macedonian Sign Language is a natural language, used by the community of Deaf in the Republic of Macedonia. This doctoral paper aimed towards the analyses of the characteristics of the Macedonian Sign Language: its phonology, morphology and syntax as well as towards the comparison of the Macedonian and the American Sign Language. William Stokoe was the first one who in the 1960’s started the research of the American Sign Language. He set the base of the linguistic research in sign languages. The analysis of the signs in the Macedonian Sign Language was made according Stokoe’s parameters: location, hand shape and movement.

Lexicostatistics showed that MSL and ASL belong to a different language family. Beside this fact, they share some iconic signs, whose presence can be attributed to the phenomena of lexical borrowings. Phonologically, in ASL and MSL, if we make a change of one of Stokoe’s categories, the meaning of the word changes as well. Non-manual signs which are grammatical markers in sign languages are identical in ASL and MSL. The production of compounds and the production of plural forms are identical in both sign languages. The inflection of verbs is also identical. The research showed that the most common order of words in ASL and MSL is the SVO order (subject-verb-object), while the SOV and OVS order can seldom be met. Questions and negative sentences are produced identically in ASL and MSL.

In order to be standardized, the Macedonian Sign Language must pass 4 phases: selection, codification, elaboration and dissemination. It is necessary to promote MSL through mass media; to change the law for use of sign languages; increase the number of licensed sign language interpreters; increase the number of differentiated vocabularies; publication of manuals; implementation of comparative linguistic studies as well as involvement of the deaf persons in the decision making process.

Keywords


American Sign Language, Macedonian Sign Language, iconicity, lexicostatistics, SVO-order, standardization

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