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Framing constructed action in British Sign Language narratives

Cormier, K; Smith, S; Zwets, M; (2013) Framing constructed action in British Sign Language narratives. JOURNAL OF PRAGMATICS , 55 119 - 139. 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.002. Green open access

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Abstract

Constructed action is a discourse strategy, used widely within sign languages, in which the signer uses his/her face, head, body, hands, and/or other non-manual cues to represent a referent's actions, utterances, thoughts, feelings and/or attitudes. It is generally assumed that framing constructed action (i.e. identification of the referent) typically consists of a preceding noun phrase, but that this is optional (or even infelicitous), if the referent is understood in context. The current study tests these assumptions by examining the framing of constructed action within British Sign Language (BSL) narratives. We find that in cases of introduction or switch reference, local reference via a noun phrase is preferred, while in cases of maintenance of reference, omission of a noun phrase identifying the referent is preferred. This follows patterns found with framing of quotations and demonstrations in spoken languages and also with lexical verbs in both signed and spoken null subject/pro-drop languages. We argue that these patterns arise and are predictable based on accessibility of reference within the discourse.

Type: Article
Title: Framing constructed action in British Sign Language narratives
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.002
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.002
Additional information: © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Keywords: Constructed action, Role shift, Constructed dialogue, Quotation, Demonstration, Accessibility
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1345914
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