Wh-clefts as evidence of resultatives in ASL
The status of syntactic resultative constructions has been disputed in the American Sign Language (ASL) literature. These are single sentences such as “Mary hammered the metal flat,” where two predicates share the same object and an event (hammered) causes the affected object (the metal) to change state (flat) as a result. While not all languages permit such constructions, this study shows that (several) alternate multi-sentential analyses can be ruled out. WH-clefts are used to provide a test for independent clausal boundaries, providing additional support that American Sign Language (ASL) permits resultative constructions. We also observe possible word order variations and note common features of the result predicates in these constructions.
Keywords: ASL, resultatives, WH-cleft, classifiers, event visibility hypothesis
Published online: 19 October 2018
Benedicto, Elena & Diane Brentari
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