Article published in:Special Issue in Memory of Irit Meir
Edited by Diane Lillo-Martin, Wendy Sandler, Marie Coppola and Rose Stamp
[Sign Language & Linguistics 23:1/2] 2020
► pp. 208–232
Measuring lexical and structural conventionalization in young sign languages
Compounding, as a nearly universal word-formation process that is very useful in emerging languages, might be expected to conventionalize early in a language’s history. However, a recent study focusing on novel compounding in ISL and ABSL found that this may not be the case, and moreover, that the two languages appear to differ in how compounding is conventionalizing (Tkachman & Meir 2018). In this paper, we follow up on their findings, using six new measures to further evaluate lexical and structural conventionalization in the same set of novel compounds elicited by Tkachman & Meir (2018). We found that ISL shows more lexical convergence, whereas ABSL shows more structural convergence. We propose that the differences in conventionalization we observe can be linked to the different social circumstances of these languages (Meir et al. 2010).
Keywords: conventionalization, Israeli Sign Language, Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, compounding, size-and-shape specifiers
Published online: 30 October 2020
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