Investigating Lexical Variation in British Sign Language in Leeds

  • Lily Blount


This research investigates lexical variation in British Sign Language (BSL) in Leeds, and the extent to which variation in signs for the numbers one to twenty correlate to signer age. Previous studies have compared regional varieties of BSL in eight different UK cities examining the number signs one to twenty, but none so far have explored the deaf community in Leeds. The work presented here is therefore the first to address this area. Overall, age is concluded to be a strong predictor of variation. Younger signers were found to use significantly fewer traditional signs that are regionally distinct to BSL in Leeds than the older generation of signers. This may be seen as evidence of dialect levelling. This research suggests that lexical change in BSL is taking place and also presents the first documentation of Leeds specific variants, some of which have not been documented in the current BSL literature.

How to Cite
Blount, L. “Investigating Lexical Variation in British Sign Language in Leeds”. Lifespans and Styles, Vol. 4, no. 2, Dec. 2018, pp. 2-13, doi:10.2218/ls.v4i2.2018.2912.