Do repeated references result in sign reduction?


Previous research has shown that repeated references are often reduced compared to initial references. The present study looks at the production of repeated references by signers of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Participants had to describe figures to an addressee, who had to pick the correct figure from a large group of figures. Several figures had to be described several times. The question was whether there would be reduction in the signed repeated references, as has been found previously for speech and gesture. We found systematic effects of repetition, in that repeated references are shorter, contain fewer signs, and shorter signs than initial references. Moreover, a perception experiment showed that signs produced during repeated references were also considered to be less precise than the signs produced during initial references.

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