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ERIC Number: EJ869492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 45
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0302-1475
Does ASL Really Have Just Two Grammatical Persons?
Todd, Peyton
Sign Language Studies, v9 n2 p166-210 Win 2009
Vincent, a hearing child of deaf parents who was fluent in ASL by the time of his first exposure to a spoken language (English) at about age 3, needed only a few months to learn the distinction between English first person pronouns and pronouns referring to other grammatical persons, but it was several years before he learned all the other distinctions made by English pronouns: second vs. third person, singular vs. plural, near vs. far from the speaker (e.g., "this" vs. "that"), objects vs. persons ("it" vs. "he"), objects vs. places ("that" vs. "there"), objects vs. directions ("thatone" vs. "thatway"), and gender ("he" vs. "she"). This provides some support for the now widely accepted view proposed by Meier (1990) that ASL distinguishes only two grammatical persons: first and other, with the distinctions just listed expressed mostly by pointing, thus on transparent, analog principles quite unlike the opaque, discrete system used for pronouns in English. Nonetheless, it is argued in this article that the view of ASL as having only a two-person pronominal system is only an approximation to the reality of its pronouns, which intertwine iconic and arbitrary means of expression throughout. (Contains 6 footnotes.)
Gallaudet University Press. 800 Florida Avenue NE, Denison House, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Tel: 202-651-5488; Fax: 202-651-5489; Web site: http://gupress.gallaudet.edu/SLS.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A