Advertisement

Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 685–699 | Cite as

Visible degrees in Italian Sign Language

  • Valentina Aristodemo
  • Carlo Geraci
Article

Abstract

Data from Italian Sign Language provide evidence in favor of a degree-based analysis over a non-degree based analysis for gradable adjectives and comparative constructions. Morphological and phonological constraints identify a class of gradable adjectives in which degree variables can be overtly represented as ordered points established in the signing space by an iconic mapping. When this happens the visible degree becomes available as an antecedent for a later pronoun, as in the nominal, temporal and modal domain, showing that the same anaphoric system is at work.

Keywords

Degrees Gradable adjectives Comparatives Sign Language Iconicity Degree anaphora 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank our LIS consultants Mirko Santoro and Lorenzo Laudo. This work would not be possible without them. The work also benefited from discussion with Philippe Schlenker, Jeremy Kuhn, as well as audiences at FEAST 2015, IGG41, CGG25 and Workshop on Gradability Scale structure and Vagueness: Experimental perspective.

References

  1. Beck, Sigrid. 2011. Comparison construction. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning, eds. Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger, and Paul Portner. Vol. 2, 1341–1389. Berlin: de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  2. Brentari, Diane. 1998. A prosodic model of sign language phonology. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  3. Burnett, Heather. 2015. Comparison across domains in Delineation Semantics. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 24: 233–265. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cresswell, Max J. 1976. The semantics of degree. In Montague grammar, ed. Barbara Partee, 261–292. New York: Academic Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Demonte, Violeta. 2011. Adjectives. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning eds. Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger, and Paul Portner Vol. 2, 1314–1340. Berlin: de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  6. Engdahl, Elisabet. 2001. Versatile parasitic gaps. In Parasitic gaps, eds. Peter Culicover and Paul Postal, 127–145. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  7. Heim, Irene. 1985. Notes on comparatives. Ms., University of Texas. Google Scholar
  8. Heim, Irene. 2001. Degree operators and scope. In Audiatur vox sapientiae, eds. Caroline Féry and Wolfgang Sternefeld, 214–239. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. Google Scholar
  9. Kennedy, Christopher. 1997. Projecting the adjective. PhD diss., University of California, Santa Cruz. Google Scholar
  10. Kennedy, Christopher. 2001. Polar opposition and the ontology of ‘degrees’. Linguistics and Philosophy 24: 1. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kennedy, Christopher. 2007. Vagueness and grammar: Semantics of relative and absolute gradable adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy. 30: 1–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kennedy, Christopher, and Louise McNally. 2005. Scale structure and the semantic typology of gradable predicates. Language 81(2): 345–381. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klein, Ewan. 1980. A semantics for positive and comparative adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 4(1): 1–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Levine, Robert, Thomas Hukari, and Michael Calcagno. 2001. Parasitic gaps in English: Some overlooked cases and their theoretical implications. In Parasitic gaps, eds. Peter Culicover and Paul Postal, 181–222. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  15. Quine, Willard V. 1948. On what there is. The Review of Metaphysics 2(1): 21–38. Google Scholar
  16. Rullmann, Hotze. 1995. Maximality in the semantics of WH-constructions. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  17. Sandler, Wendy, and Diane Lillo-Martin. 2006. Sign language and linguistic universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schlenker, Philippe. 2013. Temporal and modal anaphora in Sign Language (ASL). Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31(1): 207–234. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. von Stechow, Arnim. 1984. Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics 3: 1–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Supalla, Ted. 1982. Structure and acquisition of verbs of motion and location in American Sign Language. PhD diss., University of California, San Diego. Google Scholar
  21. Wilbur, Ronnie B. 2008. Complex predicates involving events, time, and aspect: Is this why sign languages look so similar? In Theoretical issues in sign language research, ed. Josep Quer, 217–250. Hamburg: Signum Press. Google Scholar
  22. Wilbur, Ronnie B., Evguenia Malaia, and Robin A. Shay. 2012. Degree modification and intensification in American Sign Language adjectives. In 18th Amsterdam Colloquium, ed. Maria Aloni, 92–101. New York: Springer. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Jean-Nicod, Département d’Études Cognitives, CNRS, ENS, EHESSPSL Research UniversityParisFrance

Personalised recommendations