The marking of information structure in German Sign Language

Autor/a: HERRMANN, Annika
Año: 2015
Editorial: Lingua, Vol. 165, Part B (2015) pp. 277-297
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


As a universal phenomenon, prosodic structuring of discourse can be found in both spoken and sign languages. As natural languages in a different modality, namely the visual-gestural modality as opposed to the oral-auditory modality of spoken languages, sign languages obviously use visual cues to mark information structure in discourse. Sign languages have available manual (arms and hands) and nonmanual means (upper body, head, and face) to mark topics, focus, and elements categorized as shared information, for instance. This paper analyzes elicited data from German Sign Language and presents examples for accentuation and de-accentuation with regard to focus marking in relation to focus particles. Furthermore, a specific facial feature squint that is used to indicate a part of an utterance as given but difficult to access in the common ground is analyzed within a compositional prosodic account of nonmanual markers in sign languages.