4.3.1 Features of Unwritten La

English Notes
BSL Video
Features of Unwritten Languages 

  • Unwritten languages tend not to have a " standard" form. BSL has no standard form that everyone recognises as the most common or most respected dialect.
  • They have relatively small vocabularies. BSL has quite a small vocabulary but it has all it needs for any use. The dictionary of BSL contains fewer than 2000 signs but BSL also uses many productive signs.
  • They can be more flexible grammatically and allow more ambiguity because they occur "face-to-face"
  • They use AND and THEN a lot to build up their sentences, and their sentence structure is controlled by cause and effect. BSL sentences are made like this.
  • Unwritten languages often repeat ideas, words or phrases. We often see repetition in BSL.
  • Classifiers are a feature of unwritten languages (because they allow the repetition) and BSL uses a lot of classifiers


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