faculty: "FGw" and publication year: "2009"
| Author||Vadim Kimmelman|
|Title||Reflexive pronouns in Russian Sign Language and Sign Language of the Netherlands|
|Supervisors||R. Pfau, H.W. Zeevat|
|Faculty||Faculty of Humanities|
|Programme||FGw MA General linguistics|
|Keywords||Russian sign language; Nederlandse gebarentaal; Reflexive pronouns; Optimality theory|
|Abstract||In this paper I present the general properties of reflexive pronouns in two sign languages, Russian Sign Language (RSL) and Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). I analyzed the distribution of reflexive and plain pronouns in simple clauses in co-argument domain. RSL appears to have two types of reflexive pronouns: a nominal reflexive and a possessive reflexive. These reflexives generally behave like the corresponding reflexives in Russian but they can be substituted by plain pronouns or other pronominal signs. Different RSL signers employ different reflexivization strategies which may be to the result of regional variation. NGT appears to have only one nominal reflexive pronoun. This reflexive generally behaves like the corresponding reflexive in Dutch, but it is optional and can be substituted by a plain pronoun. |
I state two main theoretical questions: why reflexive pronouns are present in sign languages and why they are optional. Concerning the first question, I propose that the presence of reflexives may be explained by the wish to express the bound-variable reading and by the borrowing from spoken languages. With respect to the second question, I claim that the optionality of reflexives is connected to the visual-spatial modality of RSL and NGT. I try to show that both the optionality and the presence of reflexives can be explained if the reflexive systems of RSL and NGT are analyzed in OT framework (Kiparsky 2002). However, contrary to Kiparsky’s universal claim, plain pronouns in RSL and NGT are referentially independent and non-obviative.
|Document type|| scriptie master|
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