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Linguistics of ASL

Linguistic terms for NIC Written exam

QuestionAnswer
Pragmatics The meaning of a word or sentence depends upon the aspects of the context in which it is used. Example: time, place, relationship with other person etc.
Syntax The meaningful arrangement of words into grammatically correct phrases or sentences.
Semantics The study of the meaning of words and sentences and the way in which languages structure meaning.
Phoneme (Phonemic Structure) The absolute smallest unit of language that can change the meaning of a word/sign. English: sound. ASL: 5 parameters of a sign.
Morpheme Smallest unit of meaningful language.
Free Morpheme Words/Signs that have meaning by themselves and don't need to be attached to another word to have meaning.
Bound Morpheme Morpheme that must be attached to another morpheme to have meaning.
Lexical Item A word or sign.
Superordinates A generic term to designate a whole class. Colors include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple etc.
Discourse An instance of language, the message.
5 Parameters of a Sign Handshape, Location, Movement, Palm Orientation, and Non-manual Signals.
Derivational Morphemes Movement determines which concept is meant. The way in which nouns and verbs are related. Example: SIT and CHAIR.
Symmetry Condition If both hands move independently, then both hands must have the same handshape, location and the same or alternating movements.
Passive Hand Condition If a two-handed sign is not symmetrical, then one of the hands must be passive (either hold still or be moved by the active hand).
Dominance Condition If a two-handed sign has two different handshapes, then the handshape of the passive hand is restricted to B,A,S,C,O,1 or 5.
English Modality Auditory/vocal modality requires use of content and functional elements to create proper rhythm.
ASL Modality Visual/Spacial modality fosters use of spatial regerencing and restricts use of functional elements - utterances made up primarily of content elements.
English Grammatical Structure Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). Linear rather than simultaneous.
ASL Grammatical Structure Topic-prone; imbedded information allows for greater degree of simultaneous conveyance of information.
English Time/Tense Markers Verbs change forms (conjugated) to mark present, past or future tense (walk, walkING, walkS, walkED)
ASL Time/Tense Markers Time marker comes early in the utterance and conugates all following verbs until a new time marker is noted.
English Negation/Affirmation Adds words to indicate affirmation or negation (ex: I will NOT go). Affirmation is usually embedded in the verb, although a lexical item may be added for emphasis or clarity.
ASL Negation/Affirmation Signer adds a non-manual marker (head nodding "yes" or shaking "no") as the utterance is signed. In formal register, the non-manual marker must be accompanied with a signed affirmation/negation, optional in consultative and informal registers.
English Affect Markers Generally conveyed via words with appropriate vocal inflection.
ASL Affect Markers Generally conveyed visually via facial markers and sign modulations, although affect signs may be signed with accompanying facial markers.
English Noun/Verb Modifier (Describing relationship of noun to another noun) Uses prepositions, most often occur before the noun: Under, beneath, behind, above etc.
English Noun/Verb Modifier (Description of a noun) Adjectives are usually added - usually preceding the noun.
English Noun/Verb Modifier (Describing how something moves) Adverbs are added to the verb: Slowly, quickly, rapidly etc.
ASL Noun/Verb Modifier ((Describing relationship of noun to another noun) A) Uses clasifiers although prepositions are sometimes signed for emphasis. B) Some verbs (known as directional verbs) invorporate the actor and the recipient of the action because of the way the verb moves through space.
ASL Noun/Verb Modifier (Description of a noun) A) Classifiers known as shape and size specifiers (SASSes). B) Sometimes signed adjectives are used in comnination with SASSes.
ASL Noun/Verb Modifier (Describing how something moves) Adverbs sometimes signed but more frequently conveys this information by modifying the way the verb is produced and by using specific non-manual markers which indicate adverbial information.
English Pronouns Gender-specfic (specific in third person singular, she/her or he/him) and number-neutral (we, they - no indication of how many people make up the group).
ASL Pronouns Number-specific (we-two, they-five) gender-neutral (index, pointing)
English Numbers Two numbering systems: Cardinal and ordinal
ASL Numbers Multiple numbering systems for various topic areas
English Voice Passive voice is used frequently, patricularly in upper-consultative and formal registers.
ASL Voice Uses primarily active voice.
English Conditionals Used freguently, marked by vocal intonation and a specfic group of lexical items (if/then) and the "if" portion of a conditional statement may either precede or follow the consequence.
ASL Conditionals Marked by a sistained brow raise and head shift, precede the result.
Linguistic Registers Frozen, formal, consultative, informal and intimate.
Each register has specific characteristics and unwritten rules which determine: Turn-taking and interaction, Complexity/completeness of sentence structure, Choice of vocabulary, Volume of speech/size of signs, Rate and Clairty of speech/signs, Speaker goals, Use of fillers and hesitations and allowable topics of discussion.
Frozen Linguist Register A text that is the same each time it is stated (Ex: the Lord's Prayer, the national anthem, a Robert Frost poem).
Formal Linguistic Register Generally found in situations where there is one speaker (at a time) and a group of listeners; virtually no turn-taking interaction; marked by physical or psychological distance (Church sermon or class lecture)
Consultative Linguistic Register Found in situations where one of the individuals involved in the interchange has "expert" status or enhanced command of the topic; utterances are often maked with "jargon" (ex. doctor/patient or lawyer/client).
Informal Linguistic Register Occurs in situations where the participants tend to have equal status; turn-taking is fluid and sentences are slightly truncated resulting in a more rapid rate of speech/sign, fragments and run-on sentences (ex. co-workers, neighbors or students)
Intimate Linguistic Register Exchange that takes place between individuals who, because of a common history, are able to communicate without the use of complete sentences and even without the use of language in certain cases (ex. friends, spouses or partners)
Phonology The study of the sound system of language. How particular sounds used in each language form an integrated system for encoding information and how such systems differ from one language to another.
Morphology The study of the structure and form of words - including inflection, derivation and the formation of compounds.
Sociolinguistics How language and its use is shaped by a society or culture.
Ambiguous Language When language can be understood in several ways.
Lexicon The set of words known by an individual or group.
Created by: Swtstems on 2009-08-17



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