Lesson 11

English Notes
BSL Video

This is lesson eleven of the framework, which focuses on the weather. In the content column you will find information relating to the content of this lesson and in the third column, the linguistic content column, there is important linguistic information that will guide your teaching in this area. You will be able to refer to the linguistic content column to check that you have taught all of the information needed to enable students to converse in this topic in British Sign Language. For example, it covers WH-questions, such as, IS IT RAINING? and yes/no questions, such as, SUN/RAIN DO YOU LIKE? It also includes information about verbs of action, which are common under this topic and refer to what people do in certain weather conditions. Spatial referencing is another feature of this lesson, and this is explained in the linguistic content column. It also includes syntax, as students must learn how to sign about the weather in an appropriate order, and should not be tempted to follow the syntactic ordering of English. For example, they will be expected to sign, RAIN DO YOU LIKE? rather than DO YOU LIKE RAIN?. Another example would be SUN DO YOU LIKE with the response YES ... SAME ME and not I AM THE SAME. The ordering of elements follows a specific order depending on the context, and students need to learn this. 

Facial expressions are an important linguistic feature when conversing about the weather, as they provide aspectual information. For example, the sentence IT IS RAINING is modulated for aspect by accompanying facial expressions to make this IT IS RAIN TEEMING DOWN. Another example would be the sentence IT IS SNOWING, which is modulated in the same way. Facial expressions add intensity to weather expressions, such as SUN (IS) SCORCHING. The appropriate facial expressions must be used to indicate this intensity, as well as to indicate the emotion linked to the weather. For example, in the sentence SUN (IS) SCORCHING, the facial expression shows that the person signing clearly thinks it is lovely. Non-manual features also indicate the duration of the weather. For example, they show that it rains for a long time or that there has been just a brief shower. The use of eye gaze and facial expression indicate the duration/timing. You can show YESTERDAY RAIN SHORT or TODAY RAIN (FOR) HOURS. There are many facial expressions that need to be used specifically to provide information relating to the weather, including mouth patterns, puffed cheeks, squinted eyes and eyebrow movements. Phonological movement is also important for this topic: for example, the flat or clawed hand-shapes specifically relate to the intensity of the weather. 

In addition, the hand orientation and location are important, as they also convey information about the weather, as, for example, in the change in direction of the wind in WEATHER VERY WINDY. You would not choose to use a clawed hand-shape to show that it is windy - a flat hand-shape would be linguistically correct. Use of the correct classifier is important and also conveys information. Going back to the example of the SCORCHING SUN: you would not use the G hand-shape unless, for example, the windows were closed and you wanted to convey that the sun was just coming through a little gap in the window. 

The fourth and final column is about cultural information. Students learning sign language should acquire a good and in-depth understanding of how cultural issues have an impact upon the way Deaf people communicate with each other. Discussion about the success or not of a British Deaf event or get- together will invariably include information about the weather, as in the example DEAF ARRIVED GREAT WEATHER RAIN/SUN AWFUL/GOOD. Here you will notice the frequent and cultural use of the signs GOOD and BAD. 

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