Chapter 1

Introduction

The focus of this study is on a language used by Indigenous Australian people in the North East Arnhem Land (Australia) referred to here as Yolngu Sign Language (henceforth: YSL). The domain of interest is the manifestation of signing space – the articulatory space surrounding the signers – for grammatical purposes in Yolngu Sign Language.

The aim of this study is to describe the sign language used by Yolngu, since “it is of utmost importance for sign language typology to collate data from sign languages that are as diverse as possible” (Zeshan, 2008, p. 686). The investigation into the spatial grammar of Yolngu Sign Language is of particular significance, since previous studies on small non-urban sign languages from ...

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