Perspectives on Classifier Constructions in Sign Language

By Karen Emmorey | Go to book overview
4
Numerical incorporation is a process by which the number of entities is indicated by a number handshape fused with the sign denoting the entity. For example, the sign for 'year' made with a handshape with three extended fingers means 'three years'.
5
In Zeshan (2000a), I had not even described classificatory constructions because in my earlier data, mostly of the 'casual conversation' type, they hardly occurred at all.
6
FLOWER is made with the hand held under the nose in a 'flat O' handshape (with all fingers and the thumb touching at the finger tips) and the finger tips facing up, then the hand moves slightly upward and the fingers open to a loose '5' handshape.
7
Note that classifiers in spoken Thai are independent words, not bound morphemes, and are thus not entirely comparable to sign language classifiers. However, the comparison here is based on function rather than form.
8
In the discussion of grammaticalization and its various subparameters, I mainly draw on work by Heine, Claudi and Hunnemeyer (1991), Hopper and Traugott (1993), Lehmann (1995), and Ramat and Hopper (1998).
9
This process is not mentioned in any of the sources cited at the beginning of this section and could be subsumed under other parameters. I have, however, singled it out here because it applies particularly well to this case of grammaticalization.
10
This is an oversimplification. In actual fact, there is considerable overlap between two cycles, so that more grammaticalized and less grammaticalized forms co-exist. See also the discussion on layering.
11
take gesture to be nonlinguistic in a strict sense here, leaving aside the fact that gesture does of course have a communicative function and interacts in complex ways with linguistic structures proper.

REFERENCES

Aikhenvald, A. Y. (2000). Classifiers. A typology of noun categorization devices. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Allan, K. (1977). Classifiers. Language, 53, 284–310.

Baker-Shenk, C. & Cokely, D. (1996). American Sign Language: A teacher's resource text on grammar and culture. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Borneto, S.C. (1996). Liegen and stehen in German: A study in horizontality and verticality. In E. Casad (Ed.), Cognitive linguistics in the redwoods: The expansion of a new paradigm in linguistics (pp. 459–506). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Cabrera, J. C. M. (1998). On the relationships between grammaticalization and lexicalization. In A.G. Ramat & P. Hopper (Eds.), The limits of grammaticalization (pp. 211–227). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Collins-Ahlgren, M. (1990). Spatial-locative predicates in Thai Sign Language. In C. Lucas (Ed.), Sign language research: Theoretical issues (pp. 103–117). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Corazza, S. (1990). The morphology of classifier handshapes in Italian Sign Language (LIS). In C. Lucas (Ed.), Sign language research: Theoretical issues (pp. 71–82). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Engberg-Pedersen, E. (1993). Space in Danish Sign Language. The semantics and morphosyntax of the use of space in a visual language. Hamburg: Signum.

Givón, T. (1981): On the development of the numeral 'one' as an indefinite marker. Folia Linguistica Historica 2(1), 35–53.

Heine, B., Claudi, U., & Hunnemeyer, F. (1991). Grammaticalization: A conceptual framework. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hopper, P., & Traugott, E. (1993). Grammaticalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Janzen, T. (1999). The grammaticalization of topics in American Sign Language. Studies in Language 23(2), 271–306.

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