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AuthorLillo-Martin, Diane C. author
TitleUniversal Grammar and American Sign Language [electronic resource] : Setting the Null Argument Parameters / by Diane C. Lillo-Martin
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands : Imprint: Springer, 1991
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Descript XVI, 245 p. online resource


AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE American Sign Language (ASL) is the visual-gestural language used by most of the deaf community in the United States and parts of Canada. On the surface, this language (as all signed languages) seems radically different from the spoken languages which have been used to formulate theories of linguistic princiยญ ples and parameters. However, the position taken in this book is that when the surface effects of modality are stripped away, ASL will be seen to follow many of the patterns proposed as universals for human language. If these theoretical constructs are meant to hold for language in general, then they should hold for natural human language in any modality; and ifASL is such a natural human language, then it too must be accounted for by any adequate theory of Universal Grammar. For this reaยญ son, the study of ASL can be vital for proposed theories of Universal Grammar. Recent work in several theoretical frameworks of syntax as well as phonology have argued that indeed, ASL is such a lanยญ guage. I will assume then, that principles of Universal Gramยญ mar, and principles that derive from it, are applicable to ASL, and in fact that ASL can serve as one of the languages which test Universal Grammar. There is an important distinction to be drawn, however, beยญ tween what is called here 'American Sign Language', and other forms of manual communication


1. Universal Grammar and American Sign Language -- 1. Introduction -- 2. The Theoretical Framework: Government and Binding -- 3. The Structure of American Sign Language -- 4. Language Acquisition -- Notes -- 2. Null Arguments in American Sign Language -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Null Pronominal Arguments of Agreeing Verbs -- 3. Some Previous Analyses of Null Pronouns -- 4. The Null Pronoun Parameters -- 5. The Occurrence of Null Arguments with Non-Agreeing Verbs -- 6. Questions for Huangโ{128}{153}s Account of Chinese -- 7. A Cross-Linguistic Survey of Null Arguments -- 8. Setting the Null Argument Parameters -- Notes -- 3. Acquiring the Correct Settings on the Null Argument Parameters -- 1. Introduction -- 2. The Acquisition of Null Argument Structures in ASL: Production -- 3. The Acquisition of Null Pronoun Structures in ASL: Imitation -- 4. Effects of the Acquisition of Morphology on Syntactic Parameter Setting -- 5. The Acquisition of Null and Overt Arguments in Spoken Languages -- 6. Performance Accounts of Childrenโ{128}{153}s Null Subjects -- 7. Conclusion -- Notes -- 4. Summary, Suggestions, and Conclusions -- 1. Summary of Results -- 2. Suggestions for an Analysis of the Initial Settings -- 3. A Model of Language and Mind -- Notes -- Appendix 1: Subjects Involved in Production and Imitation Studies -- Appendix 2: Imitation Task Stimuli -- References -- Index of Names -- Index of Subjects

Linguistics Psycholinguistics Sign language Linguistics Psycholinguistics Theoretical Linguistics Sign Language


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