Jóhannes Gísli Jónsson

Subjects and objects in sign languages


Sign languages tend to have more freedom in word order than spoken languages and this can be seen e.g. by comparing American Sign Language (ASL) to English. As a result, some scholars are sceptical that sign languages have grammatical functions like subject and (direct) object. In this talk, I will argue that there is very clear evidence for grammatical functions in sign languages, despite various complications and although many issues in sign language syntax require further investigation.