The occurrence of WH-items at the right edge of the sentence, while extremely rare in spoken languages, is quite common in sign languages. In particular, in sign languages like LIS (Italian Sign Language) WH-items cannot be positioned at the left edge. We argue that existing accounts of right-peripheral occurrences of WH-items are empirically inadequate and provide no clue as to why sign languages and spoken languages differ in this respect. We suggest that the occurrence of WH-items at the right edge of the sentence in sign languages be taken at face value: in these languages, WH-phrases undergo rightward movement. Based on data from LIS, we argue that this is due to the fact that WH-NONMANUAL MARKING (NMM) marks the dependency between an interrogative complementizer and the position that the WH-phrase occupies before it moves. The hypothesis that NMM can play this role also accounts for the spreading of negative NMM with LIS negative quantifiers. We discuss how our analysis can be extended to ASL (American Sign Language) and IPSL (Indo-Pakistani Sign Language). Our account is spelled out in the principles-and-parameters framework. In the last part of the article, we relate our proposal to recent work on prosody in spoken languages showing that WH-dependencies can be prosodically marked in spoken languages. Overt movement and prosodic marking of the WH-dependency do not normally cooccur in spoken languages, while they are possible in sign languages. We propose that this is due to the fact that sign languages, unlike spoken languages, are multidimensional.

Another way to mark syntactic dependencies: The case for right-peripheral specifiers in sign languages / C. Cecchetto, C. Geraci, A. Zucchi. - In: LANGUAGE. - ISSN 0097-8507. - 85:2(2009 Jun), pp. 278-320.

Another way to mark syntactic dependencies: The case for right-peripheral specifiers in sign languages

A. Zucchi
Ultimo
2009

Abstract

The occurrence of WH-items at the right edge of the sentence, while extremely rare in spoken languages, is quite common in sign languages. In particular, in sign languages like LIS (Italian Sign Language) WH-items cannot be positioned at the left edge. We argue that existing accounts of right-peripheral occurrences of WH-items are empirically inadequate and provide no clue as to why sign languages and spoken languages differ in this respect. We suggest that the occurrence of WH-items at the right edge of the sentence in sign languages be taken at face value: in these languages, WH-phrases undergo rightward movement. Based on data from LIS, we argue that this is due to the fact that WH-NONMANUAL MARKING (NMM) marks the dependency between an interrogative complementizer and the position that the WH-phrase occupies before it moves. The hypothesis that NMM can play this role also accounts for the spreading of negative NMM with LIS negative quantifiers. We discuss how our analysis can be extended to ASL (American Sign Language) and IPSL (Indo-Pakistani Sign Language). Our account is spelled out in the principles-and-parameters framework. In the last part of the article, we relate our proposal to recent work on prosody in spoken languages showing that WH-dependencies can be prosodically marked in spoken languages. Overt movement and prosodic marking of the WH-dependency do not normally cooccur in spoken languages, while they are possible in sign languages. We propose that this is due to the fact that sign languages, unlike spoken languages, are multidimensional.
Italian Sign Language (LIS); Negation; Prosodic marking of syntactic dependencies; Sign language; Specifiers; WH-questions
Settore M-FIL/05 - Filosofia e Teoria dei Linguaggi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/71614
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