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Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Dziubalska-Kolaczyk, Katarzyna

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The expressions of spatial relations during interaction in American Sign Language, Croatian Sign Language, and Turkish Sign Language

Engin Arik


Signers use their body and the space in front of them iconically. Does iconicity lead to the same mapping strategies in construing space during interaction across sign languages? The present study addressed this question by conducting an experimental study on basic static and motion event descriptions during interaction (describer input and ad-dressee re-signing/retelling) in American Sign Language, Croatian Sign Language, and Turkish Sign Language. I found that the three sign languages are similar in using classi-fier predicates of location, orientation, and movement, predominantly employing an egocentric (viewer) perspective but also a non-egocentric perspective, and using similar mapping strategies regardless of interlocutor positions. However, these three sign languages differ from each other in the effects of location and orientation of the objects in pictures and movies, the descriptions of picture (states) vs. movie (motion events), and describer input vs. addressee retellings in their mapping strategies. This study contrib-utes to our knowledge of how the expressions of spatial relations are conveyed in natural human language.

Keywords: iconicity; sign language; spatial language and cognition

About the article

Received: 2012-01-20

Revised: 2012-05-03

Accepted: 2012-05-12

Published in Print:

Citation Information: Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics PSiCL, Volume 48, Pages 179–201, ISSN (Online) 1897-7499, ISSN (Print) 0137-2459, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/psicl-2012-0009.

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© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2012.Get Permission

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