Nonmanual markings for topic constructions in Hong Kong Sign Language

Autor/a: SZE, Felix
Año: 2009
Editorial: Goethe-University, 2009
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Across sign languages, topic constructions have been reported as being marked by non-manual features such as a brow raise and head tilt. This study investigates whether the notion of topic is expressed non-manually in Hong Kong Sign Language. Spontaneous discourse data show that the majority of ‘scene-setting’ topics, which serve to provide a temporal, spatial or individual framework for the proposition in the matrix clause, are accompanied with a brow raise and a specific head/body position different from the rest of the sentence. In contrast, ‘aboutness’ topics that represent what the rest of a sentence is about are not consistently marked by non-manuals or be separated intonationally from the rest of the sentence even if they are external to the matrix clause. Grammatical objects that are fronted to the sentence-initial position are not marked non-manually, either. The findings suggest that cross-linguistic differences exist in the role played by non-manuals in the information structuring of sign languages.

Paper presented at Workshop on Nonmanuals in Sign Language.