Edited by Diane Lillo-Martin, Wendy Sandler, Marie Coppola and Rose Stamp
[Sign Language & Linguistics 23:1/2] 2020
► pp. 38–72
This paper investigates how systematically a young macro-community sign language, Kenyan Sign Language, uses two different means to communicate about events: (i) word order, and (ii) verb agreement using spatial co-reference. The study finds that KSL signers rely primarily on word order and using the body as a referent, rather than verb agreement, when representing transitive events. Yet, by looking separately at how KSL signers use the sub-components of verb agreement, a pattern emerges that indicates a possible path toward ‘canonical verb agreement’. These sub-components are evaluated using Meir’s stages/types of grammaticalization of verb agreement (Meir 2011, 2016), and compared with other young and emerging sign languages.