Explaining prosodic body leans in Sign Language of the Netherlands: Pragmatics required

Autor/a: KOOIK, Els van der; CRASBORN, Onno; EMMERIK, Wim
Año: 2006
Editorial: Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 38, nº 10 (2006) pp. 1598–1614
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This paper analyzes one of the prosodic cues that are involved in the expression of corrective focus in Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT, Sign Language of the Netherlands): the position of the upper body and head. In the grammar of American Sign Language (ASL), forward and backward body leans express contrast at different levels of the grammar, ranging from the lexicon to the discourse level (Wilbur and Patschke, 1998). Both in ASL and in NGT, the direction of the lean can be associated with broad semantic notions: forward leans are associated with inclusion and affirmation, backward leans are associated with exclusion and negation. Despite the functional similarity of the body lean in ASL and NGT, some of the lean directions in our corrective focus data cannot be explained solely by the semantic oppositions mentioned above. We show that we can accommodate these data only if we take into account the conversational interaction between the two interlocutors. We therefore propose a pragmatic explanation for some of the occurrences of body positions in NGT.