University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Sign Language Linguistics (LASC10093)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the theoretical study of signed languages with a focus on British Sign Language (BSL).
Course description Building on students' existing knowledge of the syntactic, morphological and phonological structure of spoken languages, this course will familiarise students with the principal areas of enquiry in sign language linguistics and provide them with the descriptive and analytical tools necessary to engage with theoretical and experimental research on sign systems. Although the main focus of this course is the structural properties of signed languages, students will also gain a basic familiarity with secondary topics such as the history of sign languages, variation in sign language, the acquisition of sign languages and cross-linguistic comparison of sign languages.

The main text for the course is The linguistics of British Sign Language by Sutton-Spence & Woll (see bibliography below).

N.B. This is not a practical introduction to BSL. Students need have no prior knowledge of BSL or other sign language to take this course. However, students may find it advantageous to devote some time to learning some basic BSL independently, for example by attending an introductory BSL course or using online materials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: LEL2A: Linguistic Theory and the Structure of English (LASC08017) AND LEL2B: Phonetic Analysis and Empirical Methods (LASC08018) AND LEL2D: Cross-linguistic Variation: Limits and Theories (LASC08020)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have taken courses equivalent to LEL2A, LEL2B and LEL2D, including training in experimental methodologies and statistics
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. discuss issues involved in the description of signed languages
  2. analyse key linguistic phenomena in BSL
  3. summarise and critically evaluate published research on signed languages
  4. carry out experimental work on iconicity
  5. demonstrate understanding of core research agenda in sign language linguistics
Reading List
Boyes-Braem, P. & C. Rathmann. (2010). Transmission of sign languages in Northern Europe. In D. Brentari (ed.) Sign languages. Cambridge: C.U.P.
Deucher, M. (1984). British Sign Language. London: Routledge.
Mann, W., C. R. Marshall, K. Mason, G. Morgan. (2010). The acquisition of sign language: the impact of phonetic complexity on phonology. Language Learning and Development 6(1): 6086.
Marshall, C. R. (2011). Sign Language Phonology. In N. C. Kula, B. Botma & K. Nasukawa (eds) The continuum companion to phonology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Schembri, A., K. Cormier, T. Johnston, D. McKee, R. McKee, B. Woll. (2010). Sociolinguistic variation in British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages. In D. Brentari (ed.) Sign languages. Cambridge: C.U.P.
Sutton-Spence, R. & B. Woll. (1999). The linguistics of British Sign Language. Cambridge: C.U.P.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Michael Ramsammy
Tel: (0131 6)50 3959
Course secretaryMiss Emma Nelson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5505
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information