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Sign Language and Linguistic Universals

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  • Date Published: February 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521483957

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About the Authors
  • Sign languages are of great interest to linguists because, while they are produced by the same brain, their physical transmission differs greatly from that of spoken languages. Wendy Sandler and Diane Lillo-Martin compare spoken languages with those that are signed, in order to seek universal properties of human languages. No prior background in sign language linguistics is assumed, and numerous pictures are provided to make descriptions accessible to readers.

    • The most comprehensive description and analysis of the linguistic structure of sign language to date
    • Describes sign language in a way that is accessible to linguists with no prior knowledge about sign language
    • Provides a novel tool for assessing the universality of language
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book quite nicely fills a void long present in the sign linguistics literature. Most sign linguistics volumes have focused on one particular issue or theme … within just one sign language … the book is very reasonably priced, and you get quite a lot for your money … I recommend this book to linguists interested in learning more about sign languages. Given the overall theme, the book would be of particular interest to those studying language typology. I would also recommend this book to students who have some background in theoretical linguistics (particularly phonology and syntax), and to anyone who is interested in the nature of modality and human language.' Journal of Linguistics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521483957
    • length: 572 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.9kg
    • contains: 414 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction:
    1. One human language or two?
    Part II. Morphology:
    2. Morphology: introduction
    3. Inflectional morphology
    4. Derivational morphology
    5. Classifier constructions
    6. Entering the lexicon: lexicalization, back formation and cross-modal borrowing
    7. Morphology: conclusion
    Part III. Phonology:
    8. Meaningless linguistic elements and how they pattern
    9. Sequentiality and simultaneity in sign language phonology
    10. Hand configuration
    11. Location: feature content and segmental status
    12. The non-dominant hand in the sign language lexicon
    13. Movement
    14. Is there a syllable in sign language?
    15. Prosody
    16. Phonology: theoretical implications
    Part IV. Syntax:
    17. Syntax: introduction
    18. Clausal structure
    19. Clausal structure across sign languages
    20. Variations and extensions on basic sentence structures
    21. Pronouns
    22. Topic and focus
    23. WH-questions
    24. Syntax: summary and directions
    Part V. Modality:
    25. The effects of modality: linguistic universals and sign language universals.

  • Authors

    Wendy Sandler, University of Haifa, Israel
    Wendy Sandler is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Haifa, Israel.

    Diane Lillo-Martin, University of Connecticut
    Diane Lillo-Martin is Professor and Head in the Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, and Senior Research Scientist at the Haskins Laboratories.

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