Since natural languages exist in two different modalities – the visual-gestural modality of sign languages and the auditory-oral modality of spoken languages – it is obvious that all fields of research in modern linguistics will benefit from research on sign languages. Although previous studies have provided important insights into a wide range of phenomena of sign languages, there are still many aspects of sign languages that have not yet been investigated thoroughly. The structure of subordinated clauses is a case in point. The study of these complex syntactic structures in the visual-gestural modality adds to our understanding of linguistic variation in the domain of subordination. Moreover, it offers new empirical and theoretical evidence concerning possible structures and functions of subordination in natural languages. And last but not least, it answers the question to what extent the corresponding morphosyntactic and prosodic strategies depend on the modality of articulation and perception. This volume represents the first collection of papers by leading experts in the field investigating topics that go beyond the analysis of simple clauses. It thus contributes in innovative ways to recent debates about syntax, prosody, semantics, discourse structure, and information structure and their complex interrelation.
R. Pfau, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; A. Herrmann, M. Steinbach, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.