1887
Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
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Abstract

By comparing two sign languages of approximately the same age but which arose and developed under different social circumstances, we are able to identify possible relationships between social factors and language structure. We argue that two structural properties of these languages are related to the size and the heterogeneity versus homogeneity of their respective communities: use of space in grammatical structure and degree of lexical and sublexical variability. A third characteristic, the tendency toward single-argument clauses appears to be a function of a different social factor: language age. Our study supports the view that language is not just a structure in the brain, nor is it strictly the domain of the individual. It is very much a socio-cultural artifact. Keywords: community and language structure; sign languages; ISL; ABSL; variation; space; argument structure

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/content/journals/10.1075/lv.12.2.04mei
2012-01-01
2018-11-15
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