Sign order in Argentine Sign Language

Autor/a: MASSONE, María Ignacia; CURIEL, Monica
Año: 2004
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, Vol. 5 nº 1 (2004) 63-93
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Word order is the way in which languages establish the relationship between a verb and its arguments. The world's spoken languages have been classified into three major word orders: SOV, SVO, and VSO. As other word orders have also been identified, linguists have found it necessary to investigate and define the relevance of semantic (animate/inanimate, agent/patient) and pragmatic (topic/ comment) notions in order to determine their relevance to the ordering of elements.

Different sign orders were tested in all of the possible combinations of noun and verb phrases and then verified in different text formats in order to classify the possible sign orders and analyze the influence of pragmatic and semantic notions. Deaf people from all over Argentina participated as informants. The intuition of native signers was also taken into consideration. The analysis of the corpus was completed with participant observation within the Deaf community and in different Deaf associations throughout Argentina. The canonical sign order in Argentine Sign Language was found to be SOV for sentences with transitive verbs and SV with intransitive ones. Sentences with modal verbs exhibit a different sign order. Variations of the canonical sign order occur according to various linguistic constraints and pragmatic purposes.