The Architecture of Functional Categories in American Sign Language



We are investigating the syntactic structure of ASL, with particular emphasis on the hierarchical representation of functional categories. Our recent work has explored clausal structure: both the manual and non-manual expressions found with question phrases, tense, aspect, negation, and agreement. You will find a list of publications that have resulted from this research and brief summaries of our results. Some of the major findings of this project are reported in Neidle, Kegl, MacLaughlin, Bahan, and Lee (2000) The Syntax of American Sign Language: Functional Categories and Hierarchical Structure. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.  

In recent research, we have been considering cases of apparent syntactic optionality, with a view to determining subtle semantic differences that are responsible for the sytnactic variations. In particular, we have been considering the reflexes of focus with respect to the overt manifestation of non-manual markings of agreement and the particular form used for wh-questions. (See the list of publications for further details.)


Book jacket for The Syntax of ASL: link to MIT Press for more info about the book

Supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.