Aspects of Rhythm in ASL Journal Article uri icon



  • ; The fluent production of American Sign Language (ASL), like speech involves highly skilled, complex motor activity. Thus, like all skilled motor acts, it is rhythmically structured. This paper presents the results of an experiment designed to determine whether the rhythm of ASL can be associated with rhythmic beats. Three groups of adult observer subjects, ASL-fluent deaf, ASL-fluent normally-hearing children of deaf parents, and sign-naive normally hearing, tapped a small metal stylus in time to the rhythm of five short ASL narratives 30 times repeated; temporal locations of the observers’ taps were compared statistically for differences related to observer group membership and to various properties of the target signs. There was great overall agreement among subjects that repeated signs, signs with primary stress, and phrase-final signs played a major role in the rhythm of these ASL narratives. The ASL-fluent subjects tapped less often to signs with secondary or weak stress than did the ASL-naive subjects, however, confirming that knowledge of ASL is necessary for full appreciation of the rhythm of ASL.;

publication date

  • September 1, 1991

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • November 20, 2014 6:05 AM

Full Author List

  • Allen GD; Wilbur RB; Schick BB

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1533-6263

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 297

end page

  • 320


  • 72


  • 1