The use of space with indicating verbs in Auslan: A corpus-based investigation

Louise De Beuzeville*, Trevor Johnston, Adam Schembri

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    47 Citations (Scopus)


    One of the most salient and interesting aspects of the grammar of signed languages is their use of space to track referents through discourse. One way in which this has been observed is the spatial modification of lexical verbs to show semantic roles associated with the verb's arguments. In this paper, a corpus of 50 narratives signed by native and near-native signers was annotated, coded, and analyzed to observe how often these verbs were modified spatially. The data indicate that the spatial modification of verbs in Auslan is far from obligatory, even for the marking of object/undergoer arguments. This may be evidence to support the hypothesis that spatial markings of this type are still in the process of grammaticalization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-82
    Number of pages30
    JournalSign Language and Linguistics (Online)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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