Signing styles in sign language

Like any languages, styles exist in visual-spatial languages, ranging from a personal level (individual styles) to a social level (discourse styles).

An individual signer has a style of his/her own on the personal level. On the social level, there are some different discourse registers, ranging from informal and casual to formal and frozen.

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 employs a rich system of classifiers. Among some features in storytelling, cinametic vocabulary is also commonly used.

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.

Academic ASL

Academic signing in ASL is different from everyday ASL. Though this academic style can be found as far back as the earliest evidence of video, "The Preservation of Sign Language"(1913) by George Veditz, Academic ASL is a growing discourse in America.

A number of unique techniques and styles can be discerned in recent videos in academic ASL produced by Gallaudet University students.

Also see signing space.

accent sign language.