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1 Interrogative Constructions in Taiwan Sign Language: A Role and Reference Grammar Account Jung-hsing Chang, Associate Professor Graduate Institute of.

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1 1 Interrogative Constructions in Taiwan Sign Language: A Role and Reference Grammar Account Jung-hsing Chang, Associate Professor Graduate Institute of Linguistics National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan The 2009 International Conference on Role and Reference Grammar, University of California, Berkeley, California, August 7-9, 2009

2 2 Research background Signed and spoken languages share the same language faculty but they are expressed in different modalities (Talmy 2003). The study of how sign languages are structured and why they are structured the way they are will help us understand more about the nature of human languages, at the same time showing the similarities and differences between signed and spoken languages.

3 3 The purpose of this paper This paper has investigated interrogative sentences in Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) within the framework of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG)(Van Valin and LaPolla 1997; Van Valin 2005), with the aim of finding out the structure of TSL interrogative sentences, at the same time showing the constraints on linking in simple wh questions.

4 4 The position of WH words In many languages, there are two major options for the positioning of interrogative pronouns in simple WH questions. Option 1: Movement The WH word is placed at the beginning of the sentence. Option 2: In situ The WH word is left inside the sentence, usually in the position normally associated with a non-WH word bearing the same grammatical relation.

5 5 The position of WH words in TSL In TSL, WH-phrases can occur at the sentence- final position, or optionally remain in situ. The occurrence of the WH word at the end but not at the beginning of the sentence challenges the claim by Sandler and Lillo-Martin (2006:431), Petronio and Lillo-Martin (1997:23), and Frank and Kapur (1996:653) that no language has movement to the end of the sentence.

6 6 Some previous studies Zeshan (2004) provides an extensive cross- linguistic survey with the aim of capturing the full range of linguistic variation of interrogative constructions across signed language. Syntactically, the rightward or leftward movement of WH-phrases has been one of the controversial issues in signed language study.

7 7 American Sign Language In American Sign Language (ASL), the WH phrase can be doubled and located in both sentence initial and final positions. Two types of analysis has been proposed: (a) Leftward analysis (b) Rightward analysis

8 8 Leftward analysis [Spec, CP] in ASL is on the left, and WH- movement brings wh-phrases to sentence-initial position. In other words, the WH-phrase in the sentence-initial is in [Spec, CP], and the one on the right is in the position for focus (Lillo-Martin 1990; Petronio and Lillo-Martin 1997; Sandler and Lillo- Martin 2006). e.g., [WHO Spec of CP ] LIKE NANCY [WHO focus ] ‘Who likes Nancy?’

9 9 Rightward analysis [Spec, CP] in ASL is on the right, and WH- movement brings WH-phrases to sentence-final position. That is, the position of [Spec, CP] is on the right, and the initial WH-phrase can occur as a base-generated topic (Aarons et al. 1992; Aarons 1994; Neidle et al. 1997; Neidle et al. 1998; Neidle et al. 2000). e.g., [WHAT topic ] NANCY BUY [WHAT Spec of CP ] ‘What did Nancy buy?’

10 10 RRG analysis (Binns-Dray 2004) The WH phrase in situ is treated as a core argument, whereas the WH phrase not in situ is considered as occurring either in PrCS or PoCS.

11 11 Verb types and WH question in TSL Like British Sign Language (Sutton-Spence and Woll 1999) and other sign languages, verbs in Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) can be classified into three types: Plain verbs, agreement verbs, and spatial verbs (Chang, Su and Tai 2005).

12 12 Plain verbs Plain verbs are frequently made using the body as the location, the grammatical relations such as subject and object are marked by eye gaze or by the path movement of the auxiliaries (e.g., LIKE, REMEMBER, THINK, FEAR, etc.).

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14 Subject questions Object questions

15 15 Marking grammatical relations in plain verbs When the WH word is subject of a plain verb, the WH word is associated with the starting point of the path movement denoted by the auxiliary. When the WH word is object of a plain verb, the WH word is associated with the endpoint of the path movement denoted by the auxiliary.

16 16 Agreement verbs in TSL Agreement verbs allow the inclusion of information about person and number of the subject and object. The information about who is carrying out the action, and who or what is affected by the action is shown by changes in movement and/or orientation of the verb (e.g., BELIEVE, TELL, PUSH, ASK, SEE, PAY).

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18 18 Subject questions Object questions

19 19 Marking grammatical relations in agreement verbs When the WH word is subject of an agreement verb, the WH word is associated with the starting point of the movement denoted by the verb. When the WH word is object of an agreement verb, the WH word is associated with the endpoint of the movement denoted by the verb.

20 20 Spatial verbs in TSL Spatial verbs usually contain information about location and cooccur with semantic classifiers, they are sometimes called ‘classifier verbs or predicates.’ A classifier morpheme is a handshape used for a class of objects, e.g. ANIMAL handshape for dogs, cats, frogs, etc. Such a handshape is a bound morpheme and cannot be used in isolation (e.g., RUN, JUMP, WALK-TO).

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24 24 Marking grammatical relations in spatial verbs When the WH word is subject of a spatial verb, the WH word is associated with the starting point of the movement denoted by the verb. When the WH word is oblique (i.e., Location) of a spatial verb, the WH word is associated with the endpoint of the movement denoted by the verb.

25 Word order and WH questions in TSL Word orders of simple sentencesWH questions Spatial verbs: S V L L S V S L V Subject questions: S [WH] V L L S [WH] V L V S [WH] Adjunct questions: S V L [WH] L [WH] S V Agreement verbs & plain verbs: S O V O S V S V O Subject questions: S [WH] O V O S [WH] V S [WH] V O O V S [WH] Object questions: S O [WH] V O [WH] S V S V O [WH]

26 26 The Linking Principles for simple sentences in TSL For plain verbs and agreement verbs: Principle A: Actor is linked to the PSA position. Principle B: Undergoer is linked to object position. For spatial verbs: Principle A: the Actor is linked to the PSA position. Principle B: the Undergoer is linked to object position. Principle C: the NMR of spatial verbs is linked to the oblique position.

27 27 The Linking Principles for WH questions in TSL Principle A: assign [+WH] XP to the normal position of a non-WH with the same function. (WH in situ) Principle B: assign it to the postcore slot.

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32 32 Yes-No questions in TSL Yes-No questions in TSL can be marked either non-manually or manually. Non-manual features: The non-manual markers for Yes-No questions (y/n) involve brows up, chin down, head forward, body forward, and so forth. Manual signs: copula BE, A-not-A structure

33 Non-manual features for Yes-No questions in TSL brows up, chin down, head forward, body forward

34 34 Non-manual features are separately marked When the non-manual marking conflicts with inherent non-manual features of lexicon (e.g., ANGRY, DRUNK), the non-manual marking of Yes-No question will be separately marked rather than incorporated into the given lexicon.

35 Non-manual features are separately marked.

36 Yes-No questions with copula BE

37 Yes-No questions with A-not-A structure

38 38 A-not-A structues CategoriesA-not-A structuresSentence types CopulaBE-NOT^BEEquatives, affirmatives ModalsWANT-NOT^WANTVolition, irrealis mood CAN-CAN’TAbility, possibility, permission VerbsHAVE-HAVEN’TPossession, existentials, realis mood KNOW-NOT^KNOWCognition Adjectival verbs GOOD-NOT^GOODEvaluation

39 39 A-not-A structures in TSL Yes-No questions A-not-A structures refer to positive–negative combination of copulas, verbs, and modals. It should be noted that although TSL belongs to the Japanese Sign Language family, Japanese Sign Language (Nihon Shuwa) does not have A-not-A structures in Yes-No questions. It is possible that the A-not-A structures for Yes- No questions in TSL are influenced by Mandarin (Zeshan 2004).

40 40 How Yes-No questions in TSL are represented in RRG? RRG contains two types of syntactic projection: (a) constituent projection, and (b) operator projection. The interrogative sentences involve the clausal operator ‘illocutionary force’ (IF). The IF operator refers to whether an utterance is an assertion, a question, a command or an expression of a wish, modifying the proposition as a whole.

41 The represenation of non-manual features in Yes-No questions

42 The represenation of manual signs (A-not-A structures) in Yes-No questions

43 43 Conclusion This paper has discussed how TSL interrogative sentences are represented in the framework of RRG, at the same time showing how the WH words are linked to syntax. In addition, it has been shown that in TSL Yes- No questions can be formed either by manual signs or facial expressions, while in WH questions an additional information (i.e., alternative questions) is usually added.

44 References Aarons, D Aspects of the Syntax of American Sign Language. Boston: Boston University dissertation. Aarons, D., Bahan, B., Kegl, J., and Neidle, C Clausal structure and a tier for grammatical marking in American Sign Language. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 15, Binns-Dray, Kathleen Renee Content Questions in American Sign Language: An RRG Analysis. New York: State University of New York at Buffalo Dissertation. Chang, Jung-hsing, Shiou-fen Su, and James H-Y. Tai Classifier Predicates Reanalyzed, with Special Reference to Taiwan Sign Language. Language and Linguistics 6.2: Frank, Robert, and Shyam Kapur On the use of triggers in parameter setting. Linguistic Inquiry 27: Liddell, Scott K Grammar, Gesture, and Meaning in American Sign Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lillo-Martin Parameters for questions: evidence from WH- movement in American Sign Language. Sign Language Research: Theoretical Issues, ed. by Ceil Lucas, Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Meir, Irit Question and negation in Israeli Sign Language. Sign Language and Linguistics 7:2, Neidle, C., Kegl, J., Bahan, B., Debra, A., and MacLaughlin, D Rightward wh- movement in American Sign Language. Rightward Movement, ed. by D. Leblanc, and H. van Riemsdijk, Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Neidle, C., D. MacLaughlin, R.G. Lee, B. Bahan, and J. Kegl The rightward analysis of wh-movement in ASL: A reply to Petronio and Lillo-Martin. Language 74: Neidle, C., J. Kegl, D. MacLaughlin, B. Bahan, and R.G. Lee The Syntax of American Sign Language: Functional Categories and Hierarchical Structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

45 Petronio, K., and Lillo-Martin, D Wh-movement and the position of Spec CP: Evidence from American Sign Language. Language 73: Sandler, W., and D. Lillo-Martin Sign Languages and Linguistic Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sutton-Spence, Rachel, and Bencie Woll The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Talmy, Leonard The representation of spatial structure in spoken and signed language: A neural model. Language and Linguistics 4.2: Van Valin, Robert, and Randy J. LaPolla Syntax: Structure, Meaning and Function. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Van Valin, Robert Exploring the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Zeshan, U Interrogative constructions in signed languages: Crosslinguistic perspectives. Language 80, 7-39.


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