Formational and functional characteristics of pointing signs in a corpus of Auslan (Australian Sign Language)

are the data sufficient to posit a grammatical class of 'pronouns' in Auslan?

Trevor Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been argued that referential pointing signs in signed languages (SLs) are linguistic signs of the grammatical class pronoun rather than pointing gestures. In support of the existence of pronouns in SLs, claims of a categorical nature have been made of the usage and form of pointing signs that are based on very limited datasets. In this paper I present data to show that many of these claims also do not align closely with relevant functional and formational characteristics of pointing signs from a corpus of Australian SL (Auslan) nor, potentially, with data from other SLs; or they appear to be equally true of the deictic (indexical) gestural points made in co-speech gesture by non-signers. I not only concur with arguments that these signs are actually blends of linguistic and gestural elements but also argue against analysing SL referential points as members of the grammatical class pronoun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-159
Number of pages51
JournalCorpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Formational and functional characteristics of pointing signs in a corpus of Auslan (Australian Sign Language): are the data sufficient to posit a grammatical class of 'pronouns' in Auslan?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this