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Abstract

Signed languages are articulated in space and this is why the use of space is one of their most important features. They make use of 3-dimesional space and the way the space is organised during discourse is grammatically and semantically significant (Liddell 1990, Engberg-Pedersen 1993). The Theory of Mental Spaces (Fauconnier 1985) has been applied to signed languages and proves to be an especially good method when it comes to conceptual understanding of various aspects of signed languages. This paper is based on an M. Phil (Linguistics) dissertation submitted to University of Dublin, Trinity College, in 2007 and discusses how Mental Space Theory may be applied to Icelandic Sign Language (ÍTM). First I will introduce the Mental Space Theory and how it has been applied to American Sign Language (ASL). I then talk about blending mental spaces and how that can be realized in signed languages. This will include a discussion about metaphors and blending and body partitioning during blending. In chapters three and four, each of the above mentioned phenomena will be discussed in relation to ÍTM and examples to illustrate use will be provided.

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