"Your Turn!": Using Finger Pointing and PALM-UP Actions to Ask Questions in Norwegian Sign Language

Autor/a: ARNOLD, Brittany; FERRARA, Lindsay
Año: 2024
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, 24(2), 621-651
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Researchers examining the structure of questions in signed languages, often using elicited data from informants, have proposed that there are specific manual and nonmanual actions produced by signers to indicate different question types (e.g., Zeshan 2004), for example, raised eyebrows for polar questions. In the current study, we add to this body of work with an investigation into the use of two common interactional behaviors—finger pointing and palm-up actions—as they occur in questions asked during naturalistic conversations in Norwegian Sign Language. The interactional work finger pointing and palm-up actions can achieve in various settings is well-documented (e.g., Bavelas 1994), and their presence in question contexts has been observed in Norwegian Sign Language (Ferrara 2020).

In total, 455 questions produced by thirty-four deaf signers were examined as they appeared across dyadic, triadic, and multiparty conversations recorded in the Norwegian Sign Language Corpus (Ferrara and Ringsø 2021; Ferrara and Bø 2022; Ferrara in prep). These questions were then examined for the presence of interactional finger pointing and palm-up actions. Analyses firstly revealed that interactional finger pointing and palm-up actions appeared in many of the questions examined. Within this subset of the data, further analysis showed that these forms may be the only manual action that signals an utterance as a question, or they may occur in combination with other manual (e.g., wh-question forms: how, where) and nonmanual actions (e.g., furrowed or raised brows). In many of these questions, the two forms appear in utterance-final position, thereby indexing an interlocutor in order to solicit a response. Such initial observations suggest that these two manual actions must be considered as part of the constellation of behaviors that characterize the highly indexical and interactional nature of question-asking in Norwegian Sign Language.