Variation and Change in Varieties of British Sign Language in England

  • Adam Schembri
  • Rose Stamp
  • Jordan Fenlon
  • Kearsy Cormier


British Sign Language (BSL) is the language used by the deaf community in the UK. In this chapter, we describe sociolinguistic variation and change in BSL varieties in England. We show how factors that drive sociolinguistic variation and change in both spoken and signed language communities are broadly similar. Social factors include, for example, a signer’s age group, region of origin, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Linguistic factors include assimilation and co-articulation effects. Some other factors, such as age of acquisition, however, appear unique to signing communities.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Schembri
    • 1
  • Rose Stamp
    • 2
  • Jordan Fenlon
    • 3
  • Kearsy Cormier
    • 4
  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.University of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Heriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  4. 4.University College LondonLondonUK

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