- Signs of the arctic: Typological aspects of Inuit Sign Language
- Award date
- 24 January 2014
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
In this thesis, the native sign language used by deaf Inuit people is described. Inuit Sign Language (IUR) is used by less than 40 people as their sole means of communication, and is therefore highly endangered. Apart from the description of IUR as such, an additional goal is to contribute to the field of sign language typology. Grammatical structures and semantic fields described for IUR are therefore compared to those found in other sign languages. With respect to grammar, I look at phonological parameters (handshape, location, non-manual markers), nominal plurality, negation, verb agreement and classifiers. With respect to semantics, I selected kinship, colour, time and numbers. Furthermore, I describe external factors that may influence the structure of a language. Both geographic and demographic influences on languages, and on IUR in particular, will be discussed, followed by observations on borrowing as a result from the language contact situation. Finally, the data from IUR are put in typological perspective, and explained in the light of the sociolinguistic situation.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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