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Aspect marking in Australian Sign Language: a process of gestural verb modification

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posted on 28.03.2022, 12:18 by Michael Gray
This study provides a corpus-­‐based description of aspect marking by means of verb modification in Australian Sign Language (Auslan). Signed languages are widely reported to make use of a process of verb modification to express aspectual information. These modifications have been analysed as inflectional morphology by many researchers (Klima & Bellugi, 1979; Rathmann, 2005), while some have suggested they are derivational (Maroney, 2004) or even ideophonic morphology (Bergman & Dahl, 1994). In this dissertation, I describe the categories of aspectual verb modification (AVM) found in Auslan. I also suggest that AVM does not form a morphological system, but is more consistently understood as a system of gestural modification. This analysis makes AVM congruent with the other major verbal modification systems in signed languages, depicting and indicating verbs, and also points, all of which I consider partially-­‐lexical structures (Johnston & Schembri, 2007; Liddell, 2003; Schembri, 2001). The gestural nature of these systems provides evidence that signed languages make extensive use of gestural representation to convey core grammatical information. This finding is consistent with a model of language that integrates both the linguistic and gestural elements in human communication (Enfield, 2009).


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Previous work on aspect in signed languages -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Findings -- 5. Morphological analyses of AVM -- 6. A system of gestural modification -- 7. Theoretical implications and conclusions -- 8. References


Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Bibliography: pages 433-441

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Trevor Johnston


Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au Copyright Michael Gray 2013.




1 online resources (xxviii, 441 pages) illustrations

Former Identifiers

mq:33302 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/305943 2176496