Discourse markers in French Belgian Sign Language (LSFB) and Catalan Sign Language (LSC): buoys, PALM-UP and SAME

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This dissertation deals with discourse markers (DMs) in two Western sign languages (SLs) from Europe: French Belgian Sign Language (langue des signes de Belgique francophone, LSFB) and Catalan Sign Language (llengua de signes catalana, LSC). Particularly, it focuses on three DM candidates, namely buoys, palm-up, and the sign same, that share the same form in these two SLs as well as in many others. The main contributions of this work are the following: i. It proposes three criteria taken from Crible’s (2014) definition of DMs that allow discourse-marking tokens to be teased apart from non-discourse-marking tokens. The identification of discourse-marking tokens is one of the main challenges when studying this category. The selected criteria can be reproduced in other spoken or sign language samples for cross-linguistic studies to be carried out. ii. It adapts an existing segmentation methodology for spoken discourse, namely the Basic Discourse Units Model (Degand & Simon 2005, 2009ab), to the signed modality. This segmentation can be used with monological and dialogical productions, and it offers a solution to a controversial issue in SL research: the segmentation of SL corpus data. iii. It describes the three items under scrutiny from a fairly unexplored domain in the SL literature, that of DMs, and from a cross-linguistic perspective. On the one hand, the study of these three DMs shows that they share many aspects with their counterparts in spoken languages (SpLs). The three DMs vary depending on the genre and on the signer, they are polyfunctional, they appear in different positions of discourse, and there is a functional paradigm. On the other hand, the cross-linguistic analysis reveals the same type of differences and similarities that are found when comparing DMs in SpLs. Hence, the features of DMs are modality-independent.

langue originaleAnglais
Pages (de - à)153-162
Nombre de pages10
journalSign Language & Linguistics
Numéro de publication1
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - janv. 2018
Modification externeOui

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