- On the syntax of spatial adpositions in sign languages
- MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
In investigations of sign language grammar - phonology, morphology, and syntax - the impact of language modality on grammar is a recurrent issue. The term 'modality,' as used in this context, refers to the distinction between languages that are expressed and perceived in the oral-auditive modality (i.e. spoken languages) and those that are expressed and perceived in the gestural-visual modality (i.e. sign languages). Since the 1960s, an impressive body of research on various sign languages has demonstrated that many aspects of sign language grammar are in fact modality-independent and that theoretical models that were developed on the basis of spoken language can thus also account for sign language structures (see Sandler & Lillo-Martin (2006) for an overview). In this paper, we will claim modality-independence, at least from a structural point of view, for an area of sign language grammar that appears to be clearly shaped by the visual-gestural modality: the use of space in locative constructions. In the remainder of the introduction, we will address the use of signing space and sketch what a 'canonical' locative construction in sign language looks like.
- Proceedings title: Proceedings of IATL 2011
Place of publication: Cambridge, MA
Editors: E. Cohen
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