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Styles in Sign Language

Like any languages, there are discourse styles in visual-manual languages, ranging from a personal level to a social level.

Each individual has a style of his/her own on the personal level. On the social level, there are some different styles, such as informal, formal, casual, public, etc. Below are some examples of the styles in ASL or Ameslan.

Prose, Formal Style

The video above is a prose and a formal type in ASL.

Narrative Style

The narrative style is usually used in storytelling. Like poetry, it usually employs cinametic vocabulary in addition to some features of the other styles.

Performative Style

The performative style in visual-manual language has some of the characteristics of the other styles. In addition, it may involve some of the choreographic, performative, and/or dramatic elements.

Poetic Style

The characteristics in poetic style in sign language demonstrate some features, such as neologism (creating new word), expressive manner, poetic feeling, rhyme, symmetry, cinematic vocabulary and so on.