Complex predicates involving events, time and aspect: is this why sign languages look so similar?

Autor/a: WILBUR, Ronnie
Año: 2008
Editorial: Hamburg: Signum, 2008
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This paper presents a novel perspective on the complex structure of predicate signs, addressing the mapping between semantic components of events and their overt morphophonological representations in ASL (the Event Visibility Hypothesis), and suggests that fundamental similarities across SLs may be related to these structural pieces. Predicate sign structure is compositional in ways that have  not  been  previously  identified,  and  their  components  are  grammaticalized  from  universally available physics of motion and geometry of space. The semantic concepts involved here are individual, event (states and processes), location, duration, termination, and completion. The relevant characteristics from geometry are point, line, plane and from physics distance, duration, velocity, and acceleration/deceleration. With the principled exception of classifier predicates (CLP) and spatial ‘tracing’ movements, phonological path movement of predicate signs maps to semantic Extent (duration) of an event and movement which stops at points in space maps semantically to the final State of telic events and its individual argument. Thus, like CLP, agreeing verbs are multimorphemic. These resources provide an explanation for the apparent visual similarity of SLs to each other, even while they remain mutually unintelligible.

En: Josep Quer (ed.), Signs of the time. Selected papers from TISLR 8, pp. 217-250.