Sign languages are unlike spoken languages because they are produced by a wide range of visibly perceivable articulators: The hands, the face, the head, and the body. There is as yet no consensus on the division of labour between these articulators and the linguistic elements or subsystems that they subserve. For example, certain systematic facial expressions in sign languages have been argued to be the realization of syntactic structure by some researchers and of information structure, and thus prosodic in nature, by others. This chapter brings evidence from three unrelated sign languages for the latter claim. It shows that certain non-manual markers are best understood as representing pragmatic notions related to information structure, such as accessibility, contingency, and focus, and are thus part of the prosodic system in sign languages generally. The data and argumentation serve to sharpen the distinction between prosody and syntax in language generally.
|Title of host publication||The Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||19|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2021|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© editorial matter and organization Carlos Gussenhoven and Aoju Chen 2020.
- facial expressions
- information structure
- perceivable articulators
- pragmatic notions
- sign languages
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (all)
- Social Sciences (all)