In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the January–February 2023 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes (+5, -1), our 64th topic challenge will be

sign language literature

This challenge covers works in a variety of languages, since there are many sign languages.

What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main Meta post. In short, during January and February 2023 you are invited to try to get hold of a work in sign language and ask questions about it.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during January and February too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of one or more works narrated in sign language and asking good questions about it or by answering questions that have been posted as part of this challenge. Questions about these works should be tagged with the author's name (which is not necessarily the signer's name), the work's title and its language. We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is bobble's presentation:

There is a thriving community of folks who produce literature in sign language. Some of the same elements of "regular" literature are present, such as repetition, symbolism, a kind of "rhyme" for poetry, etc. However the fact that humans are performing the literature, with their body, means that elements such as eyegaze/facial expressions, hand shapes, physical symmetry, use of the signing space, and more, can all contribute to the meaning.

Note that different tags should be used for different sign languages; and are different languages which should not be confused, for example. There are many, many more different sign languages.

Some resources:

  • Signing Hands Across The Water is a UK and US sign language poetry event. Their site hosts many videos and analyses of sign language poetry.
  • ASL literature Wikipedia page has a good primer for the history, genres, etc. Also many useful links.
  • handspeak.com has some basic tutorials in ASL, as well as various poems, fables, stories with videos and English text translations. Some were originally written in ASL, and some were translated from older stories.
  • Introducing Sign Language Literature: Folklore and Creativity is a introductory textbook "dedicated to analyzing and appreciating sign language storytelling, poetry and humour" which assumes no prior experience.

What's next?


1 Answer 1


List of all questions posted in this topic challenge

  1. Do sign-language works typically have native sign-language titles? by bobble, 1/15/2023 (52 views by 4 March; 3 votes; no answer);
  2. add entries in the form https://literature.stackexchange.com/questions/<question-ID> by [username](https://literature.stackexchange.com/users/<user-ID>), dd/mm/2023.

The highest-voted of these is Do sign-language works typically have native sign-language titles?, with a score of 3 at the end of February.

The most viewed is Do sign-language works typically have native sign-language titles?, with approximately 52 views during the months of January and February (by 4 March).

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