Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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In this paper, we present data that shed light on the parts of speech system of Russian Sign Language (RSL), in particular, the noun-verb distinction. An experimental study revealed that in RSL, specific phonological differences distinguish between nouns and verbs; these include differences in movement, handshape, orientation, location, and mouthing. The attested differences, which are subject to variation among the signers, can co-occur with each other. The patterns we found cannot be accounted for by models that have previously been proposed for other sign languages (e.g. American Sign Language and Australian Sign Language). We argue that these differences may result from the higher iconicity of verbs and the higher economy of nouns.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): iconicity; nouns; parts of speech; phonology; Russian Sign Language; verbs
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