Edited by Diane Brentari and Ronnie B. Wilbur
[Sign Language & Linguistics 15:1] 2012
► pp. 11–38
On the weight of phrase-final prosodic words in a sign language
This article seeks to explore a prosodic explanation for the frequent occurrence of pointing signs phrase-finally. Corpus data from Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) show that indeed pointing signs occur highly frequently at the end of sentences, and an elicitation study shows that pointing signs, other light lexical elements, and phonetic phenomena like final holds occur in alternation in NGT. The addition of a final mora to the end of a phrase is argued not to be sufficient to account for these alternations. A complementary analysis in terms of prosodic and metrical phonology is sketched, whereby the final foot or prosodic word is required to be minimally trimoraic.
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