Variation in wh-questions in Icelandic Sign Language

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This paper discusses age-related variation in wh-questions in Icelandic Sign Language (ÍTM) with respect to Verb Second (V2) in wh-questions, a word order borrowed from spoken Icelandic. Our data show that V2 in wh-questions is largely restricted to the speech of young speakers of ÍTM. We hypothesize that this is because they received education in elementary school through contact signing or the use of ÍTM and this gave them a solid base in written Icelandic. As a result, their speech is more influenced by Icelandic than the speech of older generations who received their primary education during the time of oralism when the use of sign language in the classroom was suppressed.


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