A Point Well Taken

Roland Pfau

in Deaf around the World

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732548
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866359 | DOI:
A Point Well Taken

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This chapter pulls in cross-linguistic observations about the development and use of pointing, whether as a gesture or a sign, from both communities that use spoken languages (in Laos, Thailand, Australia, and Latin American Spanish) and those that use sign languages (in Denmark, Bali, and Germany). It argues that, if we set aside indexicals indicating plurality or time points, subtle changes in the phonological make-up of the remaining pointing signs will allow us to distinguish between different functions, considering both manual and nonmanual changes (e.g., eye gaze). It also addresses the issue of grammaticalization and shows how the study in chapter 4 adds to our understanding of diachronic change in sign languages.

Keywords: sign language linguistics; pointing; Denmark Sign Language; Bali Sign Language; German Sign Language; grammaticalization; gestures; diachronic change

Chapter.  8190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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