Events of motion and causation in Hong Kong Sign Language

Autor/a: TANG, Gladys; YANG, Gu
Año: 2006
Editorial: Lingua, Vol. 117, nº 7 (2006) pp. 1216-1257
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Recent research that takes events as objects of linguistic analysis proposed that semantics of events features in the predicates of natural languages. Also, events are said to have an internal structure that are decomposable into parts with each organized around our cognitive perception of change, causation and the like. With an event of causation, it is generally assumed that it entails two sub-events—cause and result, and each is expressed by an independent predicate. Adopting the conceptual framework of motion event structure in Talmy (2000), we examine how the meaning components of event are mapped onto the grammar of signed language; in particular, we examine the grammatical processes involved in incorpor- ating Manner and Cause1 into the classifier predicates of Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL). We observe that the mapping may involve a process of lexicalization where the semantic components of a motion event are realized by different phonological parameters of HKSL; namely, palm orientation is being selected for encoding manner of spatial configuration, handshape for agentivity, movement shape for manner of motion along a path and manner of causation. Lexicalization aside, we also observe other grammatical processes at the morpho-syntactic level. Incorporating manner of locomotion or manner of causation into the linguistic system will yield a class of imit-signs which, when occurring in a sign sentence, will normally precede a classifier predicate. We propose to analyze this sequence as a morphological V-V compound in HKSL. Incorporating Cause into the verb root whose semantics is devoid of change of state may result in the occurrence of a second, obligatory classifier predicate that is resultative in nature; this sequence of having two classifier predicates is amenable to complex predicates as discussed in the general linguistics literature.