Past studies have identified the function of self as a canonical reflexive pronoun in American Sign Language (ASL). This study examines the use of self with fifteen hours of naturalistic ASL discourse framed by the cognitive-functionalist approach. The analysis reveals that the category of self is expressed in three phonological forms and exhibits a number of other functions beside the canonical reflexive. In contradiction to previous analyses, this study finds that the use of self as a canonical reflexive is minimal whereas the distribution shows 80 percent of self tokens as an emphatic. Genres appear to play a role in the SELF usage where the study reports that self is frequently expressed in vlogs compared to narratives and two-person conversations. self is not best analyzed as a reflexive pronoun as previously claimed but instead can be viewed as a morpheme marking emphatic functions.


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pp. 462-490
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