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Abstract

This investigation was guided by the following research questions: What are the American Sign Language (ASL) and indigenous signs for each country in the world? What phonological features do they exhibit? Are these features consistent with previous research on ASL? The research presented in this article is the result of a project that provides a comprehensive online compilation of country-name signs. A website was created to display both written descriptions and videos of the signs, and 180 countries with 314 total variations were identified, documented, recorded, coded and analyzed. A thorough literature review was conducted and an analysis of phonological parameters based on Battison (1978) was performed using pivot tables in Microsoft Excel. Findings include: (a) the distinction between the 1 and g/q handshape in previous literature; (b) 100% of the applicable signs analyzed satisfied the symmetry condition; and (c) indigenous signs adopted into ASL are frequently altered to contain two iterations instead of just one beat. An in-depth discussion of the implications of language contact, globalization, technology and practical application for interpreters is included.

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