- Transitivity in RSL
- A Corpus-Based Account
- Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2016)
- Book/source title
- Workshop Proceedings, 7th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Corpus Mining, Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC) Portorož, Slovenia, 28 May 2016
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
A recent typological study of transitivity by Haspelmath (2015) demonstrated that verbs can be ranked according to transitivity prominence, that is, according to how likely they are to be transitive cross-linguistically. This ranking can be argued to be cognitively rooted (based on the properties of the events and their participants) or frequency-related (based on the frequency of different types of events in the real world). Both types of explanation imply that the transitivity ranking should apply across modalities. To test it, we analysed transitivity of frequent verbs in the corpus of Russian Sign Language by calculating the proportion of overt direct and
indirect objects and clausal complements. We found that transitivity as expressed by the proportion of overt direct objects is highly positively correlated with the transitive prominence determined cross-linguistically. We thus confirmed the modality-independent nature of transitivity ranking.
- Final publisher version
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