Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 207–234 | Cite as

Temporal and modal anaphora in sign language (ASL)

Article

Abstract

We suggest that data from American Sign Language (ASL) provide overt evidence for Partee’s and Stone’s claim that natural language has anaphoric constructions in the temporal and modal domains (Partee 1973; Stone 1997). We provide four arguments. (i) Like nominal and locative expressions, temporal and modal constructions can establish loci that can then be indexed by later pronouns. (ii) As is the case in the nominal and locative domains, anaphoric constructions can involve singular, dual, trial, and plural pronouns. (iii) When the antecedent is existential, patterns of inference obtain which are characteristic of E-type anaphora. (iv) Finally, temporal and modal anaphora give rise to patterns of ‘locative shift’ which are also found with geographical locations. The last observation suggests that temporal and modal reference is particularly similar to locative reference.

Keywords

Sign language Semantics Anaphora Temporal anaphora Modal anaphora 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS and NYUParisFrance

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