Reading voices: sign language, a mediator between speech and writing
Traditionally language and communication have been perceived according to a binary logic as either oral or written. This has resulted in the inevitable marginalisation of other forms, such as Sign. It is therefore the purpose of this paper to refocus mainstream attention so that sign languages, which are themselves forms of multimodal communication, can be included and as a result, more usefully perceived as mediators between speech and writing. Since research into sign languages is well developed, it is timely to reconsider the paradigms dominating thinking about language and communication, especially in this multimedia age where new forms of digital communication blur the boundaries between spoken and written language. The value of focussing on Sign as a critical mode of communication will be evidenced by a multimodal analysis and review of selected elements from the first part of Adam Hill's videoed performance in Characterful: a bird's eye view on how social semiotic systems can interrelate and impact on meaning.