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MPhil success for Keiko Sagara

17 July, 2014
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We would like to give many congratulations to our postgraduate student Keiko Sagara, who has passed her viva and been awarded the degree of Master of Philosophy. Her thesis is entitled ‘The numeral system of Japanese Sign Language from a cross-linguistic perspective’, and covers the linguistic structure of JSL numerals at the phonological and morphological levels. It also includes sociolinguistic variation among signers in Japan and typological comparisons with several other sign languages around the world, especially Chinese Sign Language, Taiwan Sign Language and South Korean Sign Language. She found that many semantic motivations in JSL numerals are derived from Kanji, the writing system of Japan, and that three main historical developments affecting JSL numeral signs include increased reliance on Kanji-based representations, a decrease in forms motivated by visual iconicity, and increased standardisation of forms due to a reduction in signs from specific deaf schools.

Keiko with her thesis supervisor, Professor Ulrike Zeshan

Keiko with her thesis supervisor, Professor Ulrike Zeshan

In addition to carrying out fieldwork in Japan with 37 participants, presenting at conferences and securing multiple research grants throughout her MPhil course, Keiko coordinated data collection for the Sign Language Typology semantic fields project in her role as research officer at iSLanDS and co-edited the next book in the Sign Language Typology series, which will be released this year. In June, she took up a research position at Minpaku, the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan.

Fellow linguists Markus Steinbach and Pamela Perniss with Keiko

Fellow linguists Markus Steinbach and Pamela Perniss with Keiko

Keiko’s achievement is truly impressive and we hope all our friends and associates will join us in congratulating her on this well-deserved success.

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