Visual prosody

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Prosody is the part of language that determines how we say what we say. By manipulating timing, prominence, and intonation, we separate constituents from one another and
indicate ways in which constituents are related to one another. Prosody enables us to
emphasize certain parts of an utterance, and to signal whether the utterance is an assertion or a question, whether it relies on shared knowledge, and other pragmatic information. This chapter demonstrates how sign languages organize a range of available articulators the two hands, parts of the face, the head and body into a linguistic system of prosody. It takes the position that prosody and syntax are separate, interacting components of the grammar in sign languages as in spoken languages. The article also shows that prosody is encoded by both manual and non-manual articulators, and that all of these articulators also subserve other, non-prosodic functions in sign language grammar.
This state of affairs contradicts the common assumption that ‘non-manuals’ constitute a natural class in the grammar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSign Language
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Handbook
EditorsRoland Pfau, Markus Steinbach, Bencie Woll
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
ISBN (Electronic)9783110261325
ISBN (Print)9783110204216
StatePublished - 2013


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