The relationship between eye gaze and verb agreement in American Sign Language: an eye tracking study

Autor/a: THOMPSON, Robin; EMMOREY, Karen; KLUENDER, Robert
Año: 2006
Editorial: Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Vol. 24, nº 2 (2006) pp. 571-604
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


The representation of agreement is a crucial aspect of current syntactic theory, and therefore should apply in both signed and spoken languages. Neidle et al. (2000) claim that all verb types in American Sign Language (agreeing, spatial, and plain) can occur with abstract syntactic agreement for subject and object. On this view, abstract agreement can be marked with either manual agreement morphology (verb directed toward locations associated with the subject/object) or non-manual agreement (eye gaze toward the object/head tilt toward the subject). Non-manual agreement is claimed to function independently as a feature-checking mechanism since it can occur with plain verbs not marked with overt morphological agreement. We conducted a language production experiment using head-mounted eye-tracking to directly measure signers’ eye gaze. The results were inconsistent with Neidle et al.’s claims.