Necessity and possibility modals in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras)

Autor/a: XAVIER, André Nogueira; WILCOX, Sherman
Año: 2014
Editorial: Linguistic Typology, Vol. 18, nº 3 (2014) pp. 449-488
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This article reports the results of a study of necessity and possibility modals in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). The data discussed here mainly come from an interview carried out with a fluent deaf Libras signer. Our analysis suggests that the Libras modals we elicited have a lexical source with a more concrete meaning (Bybee 1994 et al.) and, in some cases, can have their origin traced back to a gesture, as has been demonstrated for ASL (Wilcox & Shaffer 2006). It also suggests, based on synchronic polysemy, that modals in Libras have developed through the same grammaticization processes observed for spoken languages. The results, coming from a language in the signed modality, contribute to our understanding of the truly typologically universal paths of grammaticization and the semantic domain of modality.