10.5 Identifying Characters

English Notes
BSL Video

Identifying characters - The first time we meet a character in a story, the signer will make sure that they are identifiable - giving them some sort of name, showing some physical or behavioural characteristics and giving their a location. After that there will be shifts between narrator and the characters and we need to keep track. The characters are usually people, but can also be animals. Story-tellers and their audiences enjoy the challenge of showing animal characteristics, or even of turning normally inanimate things (like trees, flowers or cars) into animate characters.

There are many ways of knowing who is who in the story. Shifting straight into character is often enough - facial expression, eye-gaze and body-movement will tell us who the character is. This is especially true if there is a simple interaction between two characters. However, if it has been a while since you referred to the character, they are often re-introduced, perhaps with their name, or a sign saying who they are, or with a point to their location or by giving some information about a characteristic of that character that was given earlier.


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