Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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There are two main competing views about the nature of sign language role shift within formal semantics today: Quer (2005) and Schlenker (2017ab), following now standard analyses of indexical shift in spoken languages, analyze it as a so-called ‘monstrous operator’, while Davidson (2015) and Maier (2017), following more traditional and cognitive approaches, analyze it as a form of quotation. Examples of role shift in which some indexicals are shifted and some unshifted pose a prima facie problem for both approaches. In this paper, we propose a pragmatic principle of attraction to regulate the apparent unshifting/unquoting of indexicals in quotational role shift. The analysis is embedded in a systematic empirical investigation of the predictions of the attraction hypothesis for German Sign Language (DGS). Results for the first and second person pronouns ( and ) support the attraction hypothesis, while results for are inconclusive.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attraction; demonstration; indexicals; quotation; role shift; shift together
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