Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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This paper discusses R-impersonals in Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL). As evidenced in our questionnaire and conversation data, R-impersonals in HKSL typically make use of null forms, the non-specific indefinite determiner (i.e., (someone)/ (anyone)), distinguished by non-manual markers), and, occasionally, the Chinese character sign . HKSL does not show impersonal uses of personal pronouns (e.g., ) which are commonly found in spoken languages. The nominal strategies are determined by the contexts and the referential properties of the impersonal referents, and they differ in the use of space in representing the impersonal referents in subsequent discourse. R-impersonal referents encoded by (someone)/ (anyone) are associated with an area of the upper part of the ipsilateral side of the signing space, but they can still be assigned to a specific locus if the subsequent discourse requires locative information. Impersonal referents introduced by null forms or the Chinese character sign are typically not spatially anchored.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Hong Kong Sign Language; indefinite determiners; null arguments; R-impersonals
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