- Complex sentences in sign languages: Modality, typology, discourse
- Book title
- A matter of complexity: Subordination in sign languages
- Pages (from-to)
- De Gruyter Mouton
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Sign language grammars, just like spoken language grammars, generally provide various means to generate different kinds of complex syntactic structures including subordination of complement clauses, adverbial clauses, or relative clauses. Studies on various sign languages have revealed that sign languages use modality-independent strategies, i.e. strategies which are also available in spoken languages, to mark such complex subordinated structures. However, complex clauses in sign languages also display some interesting modality-specific properties, which are not attested in spoken languages. Therefore, the study of complex syntactic structures in the visualgestural
modality adds to our understanding of linguistic variation in the domain of subordination. Moreover, it offers new empirical and theoretical evidence concerning possible structures and functions of complex sentences in natural languages. In this introductory chapter, we focus on five aspects
relevant to the investigation of subordinated clauses - complexity, modality, typology, discourse, and grammaticalization - and sketch how the study of subordinate structures in sign languages contributed, and still contributes, to the field of sign language linguistics and linguistic typology.
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