13.10 Mouth Gestures & Movements

English Notes
BSL Video

Mouth Gestures Movements

We have mouthing gestures, which have no sign. There are very few of those in BSL and most of them are rude, like (TONGUE-IN-CHEEK) means you fancy that person, or (PUFFED-CHEEK) can mean ‘I have my period’. In other sign languages like Norwegian or American mouth gestures can show feelings and emotions or can link to the personality of the person or can link to another person at a different time. Really mouthing gestures can show emotions linked with the facial expression. They are not separate. Emotions have links with the Citation Form but rarely in conversation, for example; SURPRISED, IMPRESSED, AFRAID, SADNESS, HAPPY, ANGRY. Sometimes mouthing gestures can add information but these are not linked to linguistics. It’s possible to show the emotions of a person at a different time, in a different place, showing a different character. If something were signed without the mouthing gesture it would take away the full meaning for example a person is very angry and storming off, the sign would show that the person is storming off but the facial expression and the manner would show that the person is angry. The sign ‘ANGRY’ would not need to be signed.


Observe someone signing and pick out when mouthings related to English and mouthing gestures relating to BSL are used.


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