Edited by Ella Wehrmeyer
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 108] 2023
► pp. 90–122
This chapter presents the Russian Sign Language (RSL) Corpus and demonstrates its capabilities as a research tool by summarizing three corpus-based studies primarily focused on syntactic functions of nonmanual markers. The first study considers question marking in regular wh-questions and in question-answer pairs. It shows that the two constructions have very different nonmanual markers. The second study analyzes marking of topics in RSL, and shows that nonmanual markers of topics are typologically common, but are infrequent in naturalistic corpus data. The third study investigates conditional and concessive constructions in RSL. It demonstrates that these constructions make extensive and frequent use of nonmanual markers, but that no single marker is specialized for the function of expressing conditional or concessive meaning. Instead, complex combinations of multiple markers are employed in these constructions. All three studies also contribute to sign language typology by providing novel descriptions of syntactic and discourse phenomena in RSL.