Sign languages are natural human languages used by deaf communities around the world. The visual modality of sign languages offers a high potential for iconicity (resemblance relationships between form and meaning), and scholarly research in this field has created a new wave of interest in iconicity. Of particular interest is the understanding that iconicity is not monolithic, but demonstrated through different devices and strategies that may be influenced by cultural factors and specific communicative contexts.
This research project contributes to our understanding of iconicity in language by providing accounts of iconicity in two sign languages used in Ghana: Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL), an urban sign language, and Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL), a village sign language. This research aims to find how iconicity is revealed in different domains of communication in GSL and AdaSL. The project adopts a Cognitive Linguistics framework in identifying and describing iconicity in GSL and AdaSL. Domains to be investigated include signs for household items and tools, spatial language and action/event representation.
Comparing video data from GSL and AdaSL, this research contributes to our understanding of the nature of iconicity in language, and contributes new data corpora, with comparative data from two languages.