Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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This paper seeks to find empirical evidence for categorical associations between classifier types and argument structure in Sign Language of the Netherlands ( – NGT), based on an influential proposal by Benedicto & Brentari (2004). In the light of (sign) language typology and possible modality effects, it is of interest to investigate whether the morpho-phonological similarities of sign language classifier predicates are associated with the same syntactic-semantic properties cross-linguistically. This paper offers three additions to the quest: data from another sign language, an empirical approach, and a more fine-grained distinction of verb types. In an elicitation study, signers produced classifier descriptions of verbs with different argument structures. Their responses were analyzed for phonological handshape and classifier type. Based on the results, I conclude that (i) NGT classifier constructions show categorical associations between argument structure and classifier type, that (ii) specifically, NGT handling and whole entity classifier predicates may take part in a transitive-intransitive alternation, and that (iii) with respect to NGT classifier constructions, we need to distinguish manner verbs from causative verbs.


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