Form, Meaning, and Focus in American Sign Language
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Editorial Advisory Board
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I would not have been able to write this book, or the dissertation on which it is based, without the support of my dissertation committee members. Thank you, Paul Dudis, for being my advisor. The hours we have spent discussing these fascinating issues, considering patterns in the data, and making cross-linguistic comparisons are the true embodiment ...
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Ceil Lucas wrote that her goal for the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Com-munities series was to ?provide reports of current research on all aspects of sociolinguistics in Deaf communities, bilingualism and language contact, variation, discourse analysis, language policy and planning, language attitudes? (Lucas two.taboldstylezero.taboldstyleone.taboldstylezero.taboldstyle, xv). In this volume, Miako Rankin el-...
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Teeming with thoughts, the human mind by nature desires to connect with other human beings. Our thoughts are dynamic and multifaceted. They range from the mundane to the extraordinary, and from moment to moment we seek to communicate statements of the directly and presently tangible as well as flights of fancy and intricate abstractions. We recog-...
Chapter 2Foundational Concepts
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The primary content of this book is the description of the various levels of focus with which agents of events can be expressed in American Sign Language (ASL). Before we get to the details of the ASL data, however, we need to look more closely at the direct link between meaning and form. Let us thus consider the range of impersonalization strategies that occur ...
Chapter 3Features Relevant to Agent Focus in ASL
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We now turn to issues of ASL syntax relevant to the analysis of struc-tures that impact the level of focus on agents in ASL. We look f_irst at nonovert arguments and then at indicating verbs and surrogates. Since these features influence the level of focus on entities in ASL utterances, the concepts introduced in this section are vital for our understanding of ...
Chapter 4Defocused Agents in ASL Utterances
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Chapters four.taboldstyle and five.taboldstyle present my analysis of agent focus in ASL utterances elicited as translations of individual passive sentence prompts from En-glish. The elicited ASL translations include a variety of utterance types. As discussed in chapter two.taboldstyle, the level of focus on an entity depends on both the specif_icity with which it is expressed and the prominence it is given within ...
Chapter 5ASL Structures Used to ExpressReduced Agent Focus
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In addition to fully defocused utterances, which make up the majority of the data elicited as translations of passive sentences from English, some of the ASL utterances express an agent construed as having reduced focus. They do so in one of two ways: the agent is expressed either with overtly elaborated trajectors that occur in underspecif_ied forms and in positions ...
Chapter 6Agent Focus in ASL Texts
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When multiple utterances are combined into a text, the level of focus on a given entity is determined by its semantic specif_icity and grammatical prominence at two levels: within each individual utterance and within the structure of the discourse unit when viewed as a whole. At the utter-ance level (see chapters four.taboldstyle and five.taboldstyle), the specif_icity of the semantic content ...
Chapter 7Agent Focus in ASL-to-English Translation
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The data from the ASL-to-English sentence and text translation tasks, presented in chapters four.taboldstyle, five.taboldstyle and six.taboldstyle, show that ASL users do have ways to defocus the agent. They do so by leaving the agent unexpressed, produc-ing utterances in which the trajector is not overtly elaborated and which evoke a construal similar to that expressed by English passive construc-...
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Appropriate use of the English passive construction can be diff_icult for deaf English language learners to master (Goldberg and Astley 1nine.taboldstyleeight.taboldstylesix.taboldstyle) and is also quite diff_icult, in my personal experience, to teach effectively. In English language classrooms with deaf students, the teachers often f_ind themselves in the position of explaining the meaning of particular con-...
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 15 figures, 25 sign illustrations
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities
Series Editor Byline: Kristin Jean Mulrooney is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.