When does a system become phonological?: potential sources of handshape contrast in sign languages

Autor/a: BRENTARI, Diane; ECCARIUS, Petra
Año: 2011
Editorial: Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2011
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: DVD


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This chapter addresses how a phonological system might emerge in a sign language; in other words, it asks the question, “What are some potential paths to phonological contrast?” Distinctive contrasts (those that achieve minimal pairs) and allophonic alternations (those used in phonological rules) are the two most commonly studied types of distributions in phonological systems. Both exist in sign languages, but we will argue that we can learn a great deal about how the human mind comes to create phonology if we look beyond these types of distribution, (i.e., those most common in spoken languages). In particular, we will describe two phenomena that involve grammatical interfaces and propose that the interfaces are a good place to look for the seeds of phonology in homesign systems and in young sign languages. One phenomenon occurs at the morphology - phonology interface and is based on both language internal and crosslinguistic data as well as data from homesigners. The other addresses the phonetics - phonology interface which is based on data from ASL but also has implications for homesign research.