Mary Edward

Research Student

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am proactive and creative in researching on sign languages (Ghanaian Sign Language, Adamorobe Sign Language, Nigerian Sign Language, British Sign Language etc.), spoken languages (Akan and English use in Ghana), corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, discourse analysis and other related language fields (general linguistics).

Iconicity in sign language (ongoing project)

Sign languages used by deaf communities are natural human languages. Scholarly research that has been done in this field has created a new wave of interest in iconicity (resemblance relationships between form and meaning) as a fundamental feature of human languages. Recent research suggests that the vocabulary structure of human languages is complex, and iconicity has been shown to be a widespread phenomenon across human languages (signed and spoken) especially in non-Indo-European.  

This research project contributes to our understanding of iconicity in language by providing accounts of iconicity in two sign languages used in Ghana: Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL), an urban sign language, and Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL), a village sign language. This research aims to find how iconicity is revealed in different patterns and domains of communication in GSL and AdaSL. The project adopts the Cognitive Linguistics perspectives in identifying iconicity within GSL and AdaSL. Domains to be investigated in this research include lexical iconicity, spatial iconicity and event representation. Comparing video data from GSL and AdaSL, this research contributes to our understanding of the nature of iconicity in language, and contributes new data corpora, with comparative data from two languages.  

Supervisors: Prof. (Dr.) Pamela Perniss

                   Prof. Sherman Wilcox

                   Dr. Tim Wharton

Scholarly biography

1. Edward, M. (2019). Language of the hands: Comparing signers and gesturers representation of lexical items. Poster presented at the Multimodality Conference (6-7 June 2019), University of Cologne.

2.Agbozo, G. E., Edward, M., & Inusah, F. (2019). “Onaapo” vs. “One Factory”: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Ghanaian Political Campaign Lyrics (2012-2016). In U. Onyebadi (Ed.), Music and Messaging in the African Political Arena (pp. 221-240). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-7295-4.ch012

3. Edward, M. (2018). Behind the veil: The impact of deafness on rural livelihoods in Ghana (Case study of a Deaf couple in Adamorobe). In Lancaster University Ghana Journal of Disability (LUGJD). Vol 1. 

4. Asonye, E., Asonye, E-A., & Edward, M. (2018). Deaf in Nigeria: A Preliminary Study on Isolated Deaf Communities. Sage Open. Volume: 8 issue: 2, Article first published online: July 2, 2018.  

5. Edward, M. (2018). Our Signs Matter: Protecting sign language in Adamorobe (Ghana). In Literature and Communication in Human Societies, Papers in Honour of Late Dr (Mrs) Elisabeth Amagah De Campos. Pan African University Institute. (pp. 277-288). Chapter 16.

6. Edward, M. (2015). We speak with our hands and voices: Iconicity in Adamorobe Sign Language and Akuapem Twi (ideophones). MPhil thesis, University of Bergen, Norway.

7. Edward, M. (2015). Signing out: Linguistic contact and possible endangerment of the Adamorobe Sign Language. Presented at the BAAL language in Africa SIG annual meeting on 22nd May 2015 at Aston University, Birmingham

8. Edward, M. (2014). The Phonology and the Morphology of the Ghanaian Sign language. Presented at the ATELIER International Conference, Abidjan, Cote d’lvoire on July 24, 2014.

9. Edward, M. (2012). Some aspects of Ghanaian Sign Language Morphophonology. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, Linguistics Department, University of Ghana, Legon.

Forthcoming papers

1. Edward, M. (forthcoming). Lexical Iconicity in Ghanaian Sign language and Adamorobe Sign Language. 

2. Edward, M. & Akanlig-Pare, G. (forthcoming). Societal Perception of Hearing Impairment in Ghana: A Report on Adamorobe. To appear in the Conference proceedings of The third Annual Lancaster University Interdisciplinary Conference on March 16th 2018, Lancaster University- Ghana Campus.  

3. Edward, M. & Akanlig-Pare, G (forthcoming). Education and Language: A case study of deaf persons in Adamorobe

4. Edward, M. & Asonye, E (forthcoming). Deaf Education and signed language situation in Ghana and Nigeria: Six Decades after Andrew Foster

5. Asonye, A. Edward, M. & Asonye, E. (forthcoming). Linguistic Genocide against Development of Indigenous Signed Languages in Africa

Forthcoming presentations

1. Edward, M. & Perniss, P. (27th September, 2019). Encoding spatial information in two sign languages: A Comparison of Ghanaian (GSL) and Adamorobe (AdaSL) Sign Languages. To be presented at the 13th International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR), 26-28 September, Hamburg



Education/Academic qualification

Master, University of Bergen

8 Aug 201325 Jun 2015

Award Date: 25 Jun 2015


1 Aug 200825 May 2012

Award Date: 25 May 2012


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