The Syntax of American Sign Language : Functional Categories and Hierarchical Structure
Recent research on the syntax of signed languages has revealed that, apart from some modality-specific differences, signed languages are organized according to the same underlying principles as spoken languages. This book addresses the organization and distribution of functional categories in American Sign Language (ASL), focusing on tense, agreement, and wh-constructions. Signed languages provide illuminating evidence about functional projections of a kind unavailable in the study of spoken languages. Along with manual signing, crucial information is expressed by specific movements of the face and upper body. The authors argue that such nonmanual markings are often direct expressions of abstract syntactic features. The distribution and intensity of these markings provide information about the location of functional heads and the boundaries of functional projections. The authors show how evidence from ASL is useful for evaluating a number of recent theoretical proposals on, among other things, the status of syntactic agreement projections and constraints on phrase structure and the directionality of movement.
- Paperback | 239 pages
- 152.65 x 229.36 x 12.95mm | 322.05g
- 01 Jul 2008
- MIT Press Ltd
- Bradford Books
- Massachusetts, United States
& quot; Dazzling--of great interest to linguists in general and sign-language scholars in particular. There are fresh arguments and evidence for many important claims about UG and ASL.& quot; -- Harlan Lane, University Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University
About Carol Neidle
Carol Neidle is Professor of French Linguistics and Director of the Linguistics Program at Boston University. Judy Kegl is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Signed Language Research Lab at the University of Southern Maine. Benjamin Bahan is Professor/Codirector of Program Development for 6th Street Project in the ASL and Deaf Studies Program at Gallaudet University.