18.3 Proform continued
4) Two fingers extended and spread (‘V’ or ‘V^’): These are slightly different from the previous examples, because they illustrate movement rather than dimensions. For example, the ‘V’ hand can be used to show the movement of eyes as they look around, or legs when jumping up and down. An example of a sentence that would use these handshapes is ‘The child ran down the stairs, then ran outside’.
In BSL the full sign is normally produced first, followed by the proform. The full sign is needed to identify the referent otherwise, while it will be possible to identify some features of the referent as, e.g. flat or long, it will not be clear what it is.
Proforms allow signers to move signs freely in signing space. This freedom is important because BSL uses space to provide much grammatical information. The placement and movement of signs in space indicates their relationship to each other.
Quiz: Four groups of proforms have been shown; ‘G’, ‘B’, ‘5 (Claw)’ and ‘V/V^’. Think of more examples that use these four types of proform. You might also like to think of some other types of proform.
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