What is the chin doing?
An analysis of interrogatives in Austrian sign language
The aim of this paper is to investigate the structure of polar (yes/no questions) and content questions (wh-questions) in Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS), analyzing the different nonmanual signals, the occurrence of question signs and their syntactic position. As I will show, the marking strategies used in ÖGS are no exception to the crosslinguistic observations that interrogative constructions in sign languages employ a variety of nonmanual signals and manual signs (Zeshan 2004). In ÖGS polar questions are marked with ‘chin down’, whereas content questions are indicated with ‘chin up’ or ‘head forward’ and content question signs. These same nonmanual markers are reported for Croatian sign language, indicating common foundation due to historical relations and intense language contact.