How sign language users learn intonation


speakers of any language have the ability to control the level of pitch in their speech. this is accomplished by controlling the tension of the vocal folds and the amount of air that passes through the glottis. the combination of tensed vocal folds and greater air pressure results in higher pitch on vowels and sonorant consonants, whereas less tense vocal folds and lower air pressure result in lower pitch. two kinds of controlled pitch movement found in human language are called tone and intonation. However, how about sign languages? Does it have intonation or tone?

According to American Sign Language (ASL), sign languages use movements, pauses and facial expressions to achieve the same goals. “In a study appearing today in the September 2015 issue of Language, three linguists look at intonation (a key part of prosody) in ASL and find that native ASL signers learn intonation in much the same way that users of spoken languages do.”

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