Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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This paper contributes to the typological debate of whether sign languages should be divided into manual versus non-manual dominant languages, w.r.t. negation, a distinction that has recently been challenged (Johnston 2018) or argued to be too radical (Oomen & Pfau 2017), by providing a characterization of negation in South African Sign Language (SASL). It has also been observed in several sign languages that a construction which consists of a yes-no question followed by a negative fragment answer, both produced by the same speaker, can be used to negate a proposition. While this question-answer pair construction has received attention in the recent sign language literature, it is only mentioned in passing in the literature on negation. In this paper, I provide an analysis of these polar question-answer clauses as a grammaticalized negation strategy in SASL, following Caponigro and Davidson’s (2011) analysis of this construction in ASL.


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