Article published in:Impersonal human reference in Sign Languages
Edited by Gemma Barberà and Patricia Cabredo Hofherr
[Sign Language & Linguistics 21:2] 2018
► pp. 257–283
Agent-backgrounding in Turkish Sign Language (TİD)
This paper investigates agent-backgrounding constructions in Turkish Sign Language (TİD). TİD displays many of the agent-backgrounding strategies reported in the literature that signed (and spoken) languages employ (Barberà & Cabredo Hofherr, this volume). Use of non-specific indefinite pronominals is a major strategy, and this paper is the first study that identifies these forms in TİD. Moreover, we show that TİD has ways of marking clusivity distinctions of indefinite arguments, and has a special sign that derives exclusive indefinite pronominals, other. We argue that (i) whereas lateral-high R-locus is unambiguously associated with non-specificity, non-high (lateral and central) loci are underspecified in terms of specificity; (ii) the R-locus of indefinite arguments observed in agent-backgrounding contexts in TİD consists of two spatial features [+high] and [+lateral] which express non-specificity and exclusivity. This study further shows that clusivity, usually associated with personal pronouns, must be extended to indefinite pronouns.
Keywords: impersonal agents, agent-backgrounding, indefinites, non-specificity, clusivity, high R-locus
Published online: 22 March 2019
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