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signingaudience, as the spontaneousmutabilitythat is evident in conversational Sign is one of the language’s central characteristics. Signers will tendtoimprovise andembellish signs, toplaywiththelanguage, whenconversing. (Klimaand Bellugi write ‘incommunicatingamongst themselves, or in narrative, deaf signers often extend, enhance, or exaggerate mimetic properties . . . Thus ASL remains a two-faceted language–formallystructuredandyet insignificant respects mimeticallyfree’.) Morethanjust thelinguisticuniqueness of Sign, it is this mutability, this freedomthat is at theheart of thelanguage, that is drivingtheredefinitionof amediumthathas hitherto beenconsideredexclusivelytextbased.


• A Journey Into The Deaf World, Harlan Lane, Robert HoffmeisterandBenBahan, 1996.

• The Signs of Language, KlimaandBellugi, 1979.

• The Linguistics of BSL: An Introduction, Sutton-Spence and Woll, 1999.

• EducatingDeaf Students –fromResearchtoPractice, Marschark, LangandAlbertini. 2002, OxfordUniversityPress.

• LiteracyandDeafness: The Development of Reading, Writingand Literate Thought, PeterV. Paul, 1998.

• SeeingVoices , OliverSacks, Picador, 1990.