AN ATTEMPT TO DESCRIBE AN ONYMIC SYSTEM OF POLISH SIGN LANGUAGE
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In the Polish Sign Language system proper nouns function as a specific layer. In the article three groups of proper nouns are subjected to examination: anthroponyms (personal names), chrematonyms (names of automobile makes), and toponyms (place names). Among the proper nouns of Polish Sign Language one can distinguish those motivated: 1) by a symbol from beyond linguistic reality, 2) by an orthographic form associated with a Polish common noun, 3) by an orthographic form associated with a Polish proper noun, or 4) by qualitative traits of the denotatum. The analysis conducted on onomastic signing material permitted the distinction of two main models for creating proper nouns in sign language. They are: true signing nouns [ZWn], or those nouns for which an ideographic signing signal exists, and dactylological signing nouns [Daktyl.n], or those which are entirely transmitted dactylologically. The creation of proper nouns in signing is dictated by communicational need. In view of the fact, however, that the act of naming the majority of signing proper nouns is situational in character, and not official, the degree of their utilization is often limited. The use of signing proper nouns and dactylologic nouns depends on the level type of linguistic contact. On an official level dactylologic proper nouns predominate. Actual signing proper nouns, on the other hand, are used only when they are subjected to a process of onymization among members of the deaf community in all of Poland. On a local level, on the other hand, signing proper nouns [ZWn] are most often used.
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