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Aspects of morphology and syntax of negation in Greek sign language

Antzakas, K. (2006). Aspects of morphology and syntax of negation in Greek sign language. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This thesis investigates aspects of the morphophonology, syntax and scope of negation in the Greek Sign Language with emphasis on the means and mechanisms that this sign language employs in order to express negation. The data analysis presented is based on natural data provided by Deaf informants. The initial pilot study provided elicited data, which was subsequently used to confirm the findings of the study. As with other sign languages, analysis shows that Greek Sign Language expresses negation by the use of both manual and non-manual features of negation. Manual negation includes three features: negative particles such as NO or NOT, negation signs which usually have meanings like nobody, nothin& never, and finally signs with negative incorporation (verbs that incorporate negation). Non-manual features comprise of negation head movements and facial expressions. As in many other signed and spoken languages, the most common way to construct a negative clause is by using a negative particle. The use of manual or non-manual features of negation is optional in Greek Sign Language in the sense that negation can be expressed by the use of negative head movements which can occur without any manual negation signs within a clause or by the use of a manual sign of negation without the use of any non-manual feature of negation. Syntactic analysis shows that the negative particles and negation signs occur in post-predicate position. Pre-predicate position is also available for these signs under specific conditions. For signs with negative incorporation the position within a clause varies. The status of manual signs and non-manual features of negation within a clause is also examined. The NEG-criterion, as defined within the framework of generative grammar, is used for the analysis of negation scope. Within this framework a syntactic analysis of the negative particle and the negation head movement is proposed. The NEG-criterion provides an empirically adequate theory of the scope of negation in clauses with manual negators as well as in negative clauses where no manual negation sign appears. In addition, the study provides insights into the varying use of negation in different settings and language change through grammaticalisation. Finally, data analysis of negation has also revealed some important areas for further research like basic word order, syntax of negative concord and various expressions of negation, the prosodic analysis of non-manual features of negation amongst others.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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