Prosody in Israeli Sign Language

Autor/a: NESPOR, Marina; SANDLER, Wendy
Año: 1999
Editorial: Language and Speech, Vol. 42, nº 2-3 (1999) pp. 143-176
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This is a study of the interaction of phonology with syntax, and, to some extent, with meaning, in a natural sign language. It adopts the theory of prosodic phonology (Nespor & Vogel, 1986), testing both its assumptions, which had been based on data from spoken language, and its predictions, on the language of the deaf community in Israel. Evidence is provided to show that Israeli Sign Language (ISL) divides its sentences into the prosodic constituents, phonological phrase and intonational phrase.

It is argued that prominence falls at the end of phonological phrases, as the theory predicts for languages like ISL, whose basic word order is head first, then complement. It is suggested that this correspondence between prominence pattern and word order may have important implications for language acquisition. An assimilation rule whose domain is the phonological phrase provides further evidence for the phono logical phrase constituent. The rule involves a phonetic element that has no equivalentin spoken language: the non dominant hand. In this way, it is shown how a phonetic system that bears no physical relation to that of spoken language is recruited to serve a phonologicalsyntactic organization that is in many ways the same.