Sign Language and Linguistic Universals

Sign Language and Linguistic Universals

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Sign languages are of great interest to linguists, because while they are the product of the same brain, their physical transmission differs greatly from that of spoken languages. In this 2006 study, Wendy Sandler and Diane Lillo-Martin compare sign languages with spoken languages, in order to seek the universal properties they share. Drawing on general linguistic theory, they describe and analyze sign language structure, showing linguistic universals in the phonology, morphology, and syntax of sign language, while also revealing non-universal aspects of its structure that must be attributed to its physical transmission system. No prior background in sign language linguistics is assumed, and numerous pictures are provided to make descriptions of signs and facial expressions accessible to readers. Engaging and informative, Sign Language and Linguistic Universals will be invaluable to linguists, psychologists, and all those interested in sign languages, linguistic theory and the universal properties of human languages.
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Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 414 b/w illus.
  • 1139163914
  • 9781139163910

Review quote

'This book quite nicely fills a void long present in the sign linguistics literature. Most sign linguistics volumes have focused on one particular issue or theme ... within just one sign language ... the book is very reasonably priced, and you get quite a lot for your money ... I recommend this book to linguists interested in learning more about sign languages. Given the overall theme, the book would be of particular interest to those studying language typology. I would also recommend this book to students who have some background in theoretical linguistics (particularly phonology and syntax), and to anyone who is interested in the nature of modality and human language.' Journal of Linguistics
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About Wendy Sandler

Wendy Sandler is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Haifa, Israel. Diane Lillo-Martin is Professor and Head in the Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, and Senior Research Scientist at the Haskins Laboratories.
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Table of contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. One human language or two?; Part II. Morphology: 2. Morphology: introduction; 3. Inflectional morphology; 4. Derivational morphology; 5. Classifier constructions; 6. Entering the lexicon: lexicalization, back formation and cross-modal borrowing; 7. Morphology: conclusion; Part III. Phonology: 8. Meaningless linguistic elements and how they pattern; 9. Sequentiality and simultaneity in sign language phonology; 10. Hand configuration; 11. Location: feature content and segmental status; 12. The non-dominant hand in the sign language lexicon; 13. Movement; 14. Is there a syllable in sign language?; 15. Prosody; 16. Phonology: theoretical implications; Part IV. Syntax: 17. Syntax: introduction; 18. Clausal structure; 19. Clausal structure across sign languages; 20. Variations and extensions on basic sentence structures; 21. Pronouns; 22. Topic and focus; 23. WH-questions; 24. Syntax: summary and directions; Part V. Modality: 25. The effects of modality: linguistic universals and sign language universals.
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Rating details

6 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 50% (3)
4 17% (1)
3 33% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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