PERSON climbing up a tree (and other adventures in sign language grammaticalization)

Autor/a: PFAU, Roland; STEINBACH, Markus
Año: 2013
Editorial: Sign Language and Linguistics, Vol. 16, nº 2 (2013) pp. 189-221
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Just like spoken languages, sign languages (SLs) are subject to diachronic changes due to external (e.g.  language contact and standardization) and  internal factors (e.g.  ease of production/perception); see e.g. Battison (1978), Schermer (2003), Frishberg (1975). Here we focus on one type of internal change, grammaticalization, whereby grammatical morphemes (free elements or bound affixes) develop from lexical elements.  Typically,  the  lexical  element  undergoing  grammaticalization  loses  its lexical meaning (desemanticization) as well as its categorical  and argument-taking properties (decategorization), and it may be phonologically  reduced  (phonological  erosion)  (Heine & Kuteva 2002a). Recent  studies  on  grammaticalization in  SLs  have  shown that,  for the most  part,  the  attested  grammaticalization pathways are modality-independent (see Pfau & Steinbach (2006, 2011) and Janzen (2012) for overviews). To date,  studies on SL  grammaticalization  have  either been descriptive – presenting  and  comparing  phenomena  from  various  SLs  – or  were embedded in functional-cognitive  theories of language (e.g. Janzen 1999; Wilcox et al. 2010). In  contrast,  we  are  going  to  explore  how  selected  grammaticalization  phenomena  can  be  accounted  for  within  generative  theories  of  syntactic  change.  Again,  this  endeavour  is  guided by the question whether the same structural processes and changes can account for the data under consideration.