Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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This paper examines the relationships between information structure and prosody in LSFB (French Belgian Sign Language), focusing on the marking of contrast. A recurrent assertion in the literature is that contrast is always marked by prosodic prominence. We discuss this interaction at the manual level by investigating the connections between the presence or absence of a manual prosodic marker and the contrastive or non-contrastive character of a sign. To explore this connection, we examine data related to the holds, dominance reversals, repetitions, and variations in duration and displacement produced on 977 signs by four native LSFB signers. We also assign a certain degree of prominence to every sign depending on the number of cues employed by a participant. Data are analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics (Chi-squared test, Mann-Whitney U test, or Kruskal-Wallis test). The results show that contrast has its own prosodic marking at the manual level in LSFB and that contrastive signs are more prominent than non-contrastive ones. The prevailing cues used to encode contrast are variations in displacement or relative duration, and combinations of relative duration and displacement. The interactions between prosody, information structure, and articulatory constraints are discussed to explain the different patterns highlighted in the data sample.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contrast; French Belgian Sign Language; information structure; prominence; prosody
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