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Reading: Scope-taking strategies and the order of clausal categories in German Sign Language

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Scope-taking strategies and the order of clausal categories in German Sign Language

Authors:

Fabian Bross ,

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstr. 17, 70174 Stuttgart, DE
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Daniel Hole

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstr. 17, 70174 Stuttgart, DE
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Abstract

The scope order of clausal categories has been claimed to be universal. In this paper we adopt a universalist cartographic approach to clausal syntax. By discussing the categories of speech acts, evaluation, epistemic modality, scalarity, volition and deontic, as well as other kinds of modality, we illustrate a striking regularity in strategies of scope-taking in German Sign Language (DGS): the wider/higher the scope of a clausal operator, the more likely its expression will occur with a high body part by way of layering; namely, descending from the eyebrows to the lower face, tentatively to the shoulders, and finally switching to manual expressions. For intermediate operators a left-to-right concatenation strategy is employed, and low categories are expressed by way of a manual right-to-left concatenation strategy. Hence, we propose a highly regular natural mapping of the scope-order of clausal categories onto the body. This sort of mapping can also be observed in other sign languages and may turn out to be universal.

How to Cite: Bross, F. & Hole, D., (2017). Scope-taking strategies and the order of clausal categories in German Sign Language. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. 2(1), p.76. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.106
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Published on 31 Aug 2017.
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