Acquiring verb agreement in HKSL: Optional or obligatory?

Autor/a: TANG, Gladys; LAM, Scholastica; SZE, Felix; LAU, Prudence; LEE, Jafi
Año: 2008
Editorial: Brazil: Editora Arara Azul, 2008
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Acquisition of verb agreement has been widely studied in spoken languages but few studies have focused on a similar phenomenon in signed languages. For those that have been reported in the literature, omission of agreement marking has been the subject of recent debate. While most studies report on omission of agreement markings (Meier 2002, Morgan 2006), some recent studies observe few errors of omission with children acquiring ASL and LSB (Quadros and Lillo-Martin 2006). The present study attempts to examine child acquisition of verb agreement in HKSL with data drawn from a longitudinal corpus of a deaf child (2;6.17 – 5;7.20) and experimental studies conducted when he was at age 6. Within the general framework of examining agreement marking in the child’s data, we focus on the effect of optionality of verb agreement in the adult grammar on the acquisition of this grammatical area. Following Lam (2003), agreeing verbs may appear in three forms, depending on the interaction between syntactic position and person value: (a) uninflected form, (b) direct to the actual or imaged location of the referent, and (c) inflected for syntactic verb agreement. In what follows, we will first present the literature regarding verb agreement and its acquisition in both spoken and signed languages; then we will present the findings of two studies on the acquisition of verb agreement in HKSL by a deaf child. Our findings reveal that the deaf child’s acquisition process shows properties pertaining to late learners of verb agreement, displaying consistently violations of the constraints observed in the grammar of verb agreement in HKSL.

TISLR 9: forty five papers and three posters from the 9th Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference, pp. 613-638.