Exploitation of morphological possibilities in signed languages
Comparison of American Sign Language with English
American Sign Language shares with spoken languages derivational and inflectional morphological processes, including compounding, reduplication, incorporation, and, arguably, templates. Like spoken languages, ASL also has an extensive nonderivational, noninflectional morphology involving phonological alternation although this is typically more limited. Additionally, ASL frequently associates meaning with individual phonological parameters. This association is atypical of spoken languages. We account for these phenomena by positing “ion-morphs,” which are phonologically incomplete lexical items that bond with other compatible ion-morphs. These ion-morphs draw lexical items into “families” of related signs. In contrast, ASL makes little, if any, use of concatenative affixation, a morphological mechanism common among spoken languages. We propose that this difference is the result of the comparative slowness of movement of the manual articulators as compared to the speech articulators, as well as the perceptual robustness of the manual articulators to the visual system. The slowness of the manual articulators disfavors concatenative affixation. The perceptual robustness of the manual articulators allows ASL to exploit morphological potential that spoken language can use only at considerable cost.
Keywords: phonology-semantics interface, word formation, signed vs. spoken language, American Sign Language, morphology, lexicon
Published online: 15 August 2002
Cited by 21 other publications
No author info given
Demey, Eline & Els van der Kooij
Ferrara, Casey & Donna Jo Napoli
Hall, Matthew L., Victor S. Ferreira, Rachel I. Mayberry & Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells
Hendriks, Bernadet & Shelley Dufoe
KUBUS, OKAN, AGNES VILLWOCK, JILL P. MORFORD & CHRISTIAN RATHMANN
Lepic, Ryan & Corrine Occhino
Makaroğlu, Bahtiyar & Selçuk İşsever
Mirus, Gene, Jami Fisher & Donna Jo Napoli
Morgan, Hope E.
Williams, Joshua T. & Sharlene D. Newman
Zwitserlood, Inge, Pamela Perniss & Aslı Özyürek
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 21 april 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.