Northwestern Events Calendar


Linguistics Colloquium Series: Donna Jo Napoli - Influence of predicate sense on sign order: Intensional and extensional verbs

When: Friday, November 10, 2017
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, 2380, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Talant Abdykairov   (847) 467-3384

Group: Linguistics Department

Category: Academic


This is work done with Rachel Sutton-Spence and Ronice Mueller de Quadros. We present evidence for the influence of semantics on the order of subject, object, and verb in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) sentences. While some have argued for a prevailing pattern of SVO in Libras, we find a strong tendency for this order in sentences that do not presuppose the existence of the verb’s object, but not in sentences that do, which, instead, favor SOV. These findings are coherent with those of a recent study on gesture. We argue that the variable influence of the relevant predicates is particularly salient in sign languages, due to the iconic nature of the visual modality.

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