Points, depictions, gestures and enactment

partly lexical and non-lexical signs as core elements of single clause-like units in Auslan (Australian Sign Language)

Gabrielle Hodge, Trevor Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Pointing signs, depicting signs and manual gestures are all used for meaningful expression in Auslan, as are full or partial body enactments to demonstrate action or dialogue. This article outlines a corpus-driven approach to identifying clause-like units in a native signed language and investigates the use of pointing signs, depicting signs, gestures and enactments to express core elements of possible clause-like units in Auslan narratives. We explore the frequency and distribution of the core argument and predicate elements of single clause-like units that were identified in elicited retellings of an Aesop's fable which have been archived in the Auslan Corpus. Core elements of these units are described according to sign type, the order in which they appear and handedness (articulation with the strong or weak hand). We find that one-third of the core elements in the single clause-like units in these Auslan narratives are expressed via pointing signs, depicting signs, gestures and enactments, in various orders. This study uses empirical corpus-based data to contribute insights into the use of composite utterances in a signed language and therefore on the way meaning is negotiated between interactants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)262-291
    Number of pages30
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014

    Keywords

    • Auslan
    • sign language
    • corpus linguistics
    • constructions
    • lexicology
    • clause
    • lexicalization

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