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Sharing space is Slovenian Sign Language (SZJ)
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In this paper my aim is to introduce Slovenian Sign Language (henceforth SZJ), provide evidence for the sublexical structure of SZJ signs and classify SZJ verbs with regard to their place of articulation. Using Picture Description Task methodology (Volterra et al. 1984) I interviewed seven SZJ native deaf signers and defined two main verb classes: those that are signed on the body and those that are not. According to the tradition of sign languages research (Padden 1983 for American Sign Language) they can be termed as body-anchored, non-agreeing or plain verbs and space-anchored or agreeing verbs, respectively. SZJ body-anchored verbs cannot adjust their place of articulation to the place of articulation of their arguments while SZJ space-anchored verbs move between two distinct loci in signing space adjusting the starting and the ending point of this movement to places where two of their arguments are articulated. I analyze this process as an overt verb-argument agreement and justify SZJ space-anchored verbs as agreeing verbs. I also consider non-manual agreement markings such as eye-gaze, head- and body-lean and show that these markings accompany space-anchored verbs more often than body-anchored verbs. Furthermore, I distinguish a subclass of SZJ verbs that are signed in one locus in space (usually on the non-dominant hand). I examine whether such verbs express agreement overtly or not. I conclude that they do because it shares the very same place of articulation with all of its arguments that are not body-anchored signs.
Slovenian Sign Language
plain and agreeing verbs
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Syntax, Phonology and Language Analysis conference 7
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Grazer linguistische Studien
UNIVERSITY OF GRAZ
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