UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Pronouns and pointing in sign languages

Cormier, K; Schembri, A; Woll, B; (2013) Pronouns and pointing in sign languages. LINGUA , 137 230 - 247. 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.09.010. Green open access

[img]
Preview
PDF
1-s2.0-S0024384113002167-main.pdf

Download (1MB)

Abstract

Pointing signs are used for pronominal reference (among many other functions) in sign languages. Many pointing signs do not look very different from non-signers’ pointing gestures (Kendon, 2004 and Kita, 2003c). However, most sign language researchers, regardless of their theoretical perspective, assume that there is evidence for considering these pointing signs to be pronouns (i.e., distinct from pointing gestures used by non-signers). In this paper, we compare canonical properties of pronominal pointing signs in sign languages with (a) personal pronouns in spoken languages and (b) pointing gestures used by non-signers. We find firstly that the features that make pronominal signs difficult to characterise morphosyntactically are those features they share with pointing gestures and not with pronouns. Secondly, we find that the features that make pronominal signs difficult to characterise gesturally are those features they share with pronouns and not with pointing gestures. Therefore, we conclude that pronominal signs cannot be characterised exclusively either as personal pronouns, or as pointing gestures, but instead have characteristics of both. We discuss implications of this conclusion for linguistic theory and also for our understanding of linguistic diversity and linguistic universals.

Type: Article
Title: Pronouns and pointing in sign languages
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.09.010
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2013.09.010
Additional information: © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Keywords: Sign language, Gesture, Reference, Deixis, Grammaticalisation
UCL classification: 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/1345963
Downloads since deposit
451Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item