Article published in:Nonmanuals in Sign Language
Edited by Annika Herrmann and Markus Steinbach
[Sign Language & Linguistics 14:1] 2011
► pp. 115–147
Nonmanual markings for topic constructions in Hong Kong Sign Language
Across sign languages, topic constructions are marked by nonmanual features such as a brow raise and head tilt. This study investigates whether a topic constituent is marked nonmanually in Hong Kong Sign Language. Spontaneous and elicited data show that the majority of ‘scene-setting’ topics, which provide a temporal, spatial or individual framework for the proposition in the sentence, are accompanied with a brow raise and a specific head/body position different from the rest of the sentence. In contrast, ‘aboutness’ topics that represent what a sentence is about are neither marked by nonmanuals consistently nor separated intonationally from the rest of the sentence. Grammatical objects fronted to the sentence-initial position are not marked nonmanually, either. The findings suggest that there are cross-linguistic differences with respect to the functions of nonmanuals in the information structuring of sign languages.
Keywords: ‘scene-setting’ topics, fronting of grammatical objects, ‘aboutness’ topics, nonmanual markings, Hong Kong Sign Language
Published online: 11 August 2011
Cited by 6 other publications
Jarque Moyano, Maria Josep
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