Taboos and euphemisms in sex-related signs in Asian Sign Languages
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AbstractThis paper investigates sex-related euphemisms in four Asia sign languages, namely, Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL), Jakarta Sign Language (JakSL) (Indonesia), Sri Lankan Sign Language (SLSL) and Japanese Sign Language (JSL). It aims at finding out if direct visual reference to sex-related body parts or concepts is taboo to Deaf signers and if this is the case, what strategies they adopt to form the corresponding euphemistic expressions. It will be argued that even though Deaf signers are used to the visual explicitness of the signing modality, the highly iconic nature of certain sex-related signs can still be offensive at times, thus giving rise to euphemistic expressions. While certain euphemistic strategies by the Deaf signers target at toning down the degree of visual iconicity originally associated with the taboo signs, most of the remaining strategies show striking resemblance to those used in spoken languages, suggesting the universality of these verbal politeness strategies across language modalities.
All Author(s) ListFelix Y. B. Sze, Monica Xiao Wei, Aaron Yiu Leung Wong
Journal nameLinguistics
Year2017
Month1
Volume Number55
Issue Number1
PublisherDe Gruyter
Pages153 - 205
ISSN0024-3949
eISSN1613-396X
LanguagesEnglish-United States
Keywordstaboos, euphemisms, sex-related signs, Asian sign languages

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