Sign Language Studies

Sign Language Studies 3.1, Fall 2002

Commentary

    Petitto, Laura A. (Laura Ann)
    Holowka, Siobhan.
  • Evaluating Attributions of Delay and Confusion in Young Bilinguals: Special Insights from Infants Acquiring a Signed and a Spoken Language
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    Subject Headings:
    • Language awareness in children.
    • Bilingualism in children.
    • Cognition in children.

Articles

    Shaffer, Barbara.
  • CAN'T: The Negation of Modal Notions in ASL
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    Subject Headings:
    • American Sign Language -- Modality.
    • American Sign Language -- Negatives.
    • Deaf -- Means of communication -- United States.
    Abstract:
      Historical linguistics is at times akin to archaeology. The researcher pieces together bits of evidence to create a complete picture of a particular phenomenon. For a linguist studying a signed language, the task is more daunting still, due to the relative dearth of available data. Nonetheless, linguistic typology and a thorough understanding of the language under investigation can yield exciting returns. This article explores the development of the negative modal can’t in ASL. This study involves many overlapping areas, including modality, negation, lexicalization, and grammaticization. Because of the historical relationship between ASL and French Sign Language (LSF), a diachronic study of certain grammatical features of ASL necessitates a discussion of Old LSF (see Lane [1984] for an account of the historical relationship between ASL and LSF and of the circumstances that brought LSF to the United States). Finally, one cannot ignore the sociolinguistics of the Deaf communities in France and North America. The result is a holistic investigation of the development of can’t that suggests that this modern ASL sign developed not from a positive modal expressing possibility or ability, as one might expect, but from a modal indicating deontic necessity, specifically, Old LSF il faut “it is necessary.”
    Wulf, Alyssa.
    Dudis, Paul.
    Bayley, Robert, 1943-
    Lucas, Ceil.
  • Variable Subject Presence in ASL Narratives
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    Subject Headings:
    • American Sign Language -- Variation.
    • American Sign Language -- Verb.
    • American Sign Language -- Syntax.
    • Deaf -- Means of communication -- United States.
    Abstract:
      This article examines variation between null and overt subject pronouns in ASL. In ASL, information about the subject is sometimes provided through morphology. Certain verbs allow changes in form (i.e., in their use of space) that indicate the person and/or number of the subject. In the case of “plain verbs” (Padden 1988), however, the verb form itself includes no information about the subject. Although we might expect plain verbs to require separate manual subjects, they also show variable subject presence. In this study, based on spontaneous narratives produced by signers ranging from 16 to 84 years of age, we use multivariate analysis to examine the behavior of subjects of plain verbs. All possible sites of pronominal subjects occurring with plain verbs were coded for a number of factors, including person and number, switch reference, sentence type, age, and gender. We also coded for whether the token occurred within constructed action or dialogue or within utterances marked by obvious English influence. Overall, results indicate that ASL subject pronoun presence with plain verbs is systematic and constrained by a range of factors that exhibit remarkable similarity to constraints found in studies of spoken languages. Results for age, however, need to be interpreted in light of the social history of the U.S. Deaf community.

Book Reviews

    Brueggemann, Brenda Jo, 1958-
  • Deaf-World: A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bragg, Lois, 1951-, ed. Deaf-world: a historical reader and primary sourcebook.
    • Deaf -- United States.
    Lang, Harry G.
  • Cochlear Implants in Children: Ethics and Choices (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Christiansen, John B. Cochlear implants in children: ethics and choices.
    • Leigh, Irene.
    • Cochlear implants.
  • Brief Notice
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bouvet, Danielle. Dimension corporelle de la parole: les marques posturo-mimo-gestuelles de la parole, leurs aspects métonymiques et métaphoriques, et leur rôle au cours d'un récit.



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