Role Shift, Anaphora and Discourse Polyphony in Sign Language of Southern Belgium (LSFB)

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This paper deals with the role shift process, outside the context of direct speech. Arguments will be advanced which suggest that the role shift forms in non-direct speech consist in the neutralization of the value of person. The regular opposition of the gaze behaviour, between shifted and non-shifted forms, constitutes the main argument for this assumption. Following this, such person neutralized forms are studied within three syntactic constructions of LSFB. From this analysis, it becomes clear that their referential interpretation is closely dependent on the syntactic arrangement of the phrase. Finally, in accordance with Ducrot's enunciation theory (1984), the multi-voiced ('polyphonic') effect produced by the presence of person neutralization form(s) within a phrase is specified as an intertwining of the point of view of an Enunciator with the voice of a Speaker. It is distinguished from the enunciative functioning of direct speech, which involves two distinct Speakers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSigns of the Time
Subtitle of host publicationSelected papers from TISLR 2004
EditorsJ Quer
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Anaphora
  • Sign language
  • Layering of voices
  • Role Shift
  • Syntax
  • Value of person
  • Polyphony
  • Enunciation
  • Morphology


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