Framing constructed action in British Sign Language narratives

Autor/a: CORMIER, Kearsy; SMITH, Sandra; ZWETS, Martine
Año: 2013
Editorial: Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 55 (2013) pp. 119-139
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Constructed action is a discourse strategy, used widely within sign languages, in which the signer uses his/her face, head, body, hands, and/or other non-manual cues to represent a referent's actions, utterances, thoughts, feelings and/or attitudes. It is generally assumed that framing constructed action (i.e. identification of the referent) typically consists of a preceding noun phrase, but that this is optional (or even infelicitous), if the referent is understood in context. The current study tests these assumptions by examining the framing of constructed action within British Sign Language (BSL) narratives. We find that in cases of introduction or switch reference, local reference via a noun phrase is preferred, while in cases of maintenance of reference, omission of a noun phrase identifying the referent is preferred. This follows patterns found with framing of quotations and demonstrations in spoken languages and also with lexical verbs in both signed and spoken null subject/pro-drop languages. We argue that these patterns arise and are predictable based on accessibility of reference within the discourse.