Current Issues in ASL Phonology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780121932701, 9781483217574

Current Issues in ASL Phonology

1st Edition

Phonetics and Phonology, Vol. 3

Editors: Geoffrey R. Coulter
eBook ISBN: 9781483217574
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 3rd December 1992
Page Count: 316
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Phonetics and Phonology, Volume 3: Current Issues in ASL Phonology deals with theoretical issues in the phonology of ASL (American Sign Language), the signed language of the American Deaf. These issues range from the overall architecture of phonological theory to particular proposals such as the nature of syllables and the reality of underlying "dynamic" or "contour" elements. The seemingly universal preference, CV (consonant-vowel) as opposed to VC (vowel-consonant) syllable structure, is also discussed.

Comprised of 14 chapters, this volume begins with some general background on ASL and on the community in which it is used. It then looks at secondary licensing and the nature of constraints on the non-dominant hand in ASL; underspecification in ASL handshape contours; and the nature of ASL and the development of ASL linguistics. The applicability of the notion of "phonology" to a signed language and the sort of questions that can be explored about the parallelisms between signed and spoken linguistic systems are also considered. Later chapters focus on the linearization of phonological tiers in ASL; phonological segmentation in sign and speech; two models of segmentation in ASL; and sonority and syllable structure in ASL. The book also examines phrase-level prosody in ASL before concluding with an analysis of linguistic expression and its relation to modality.

This monograph will appeal to phonologists who work on both signed and spoken languages, and to other cognitive scientists interested in the nature of abstract articulatory representations in human language.

Table of Contents



1. Overview

2. A Few Notes About ASL: The Language and Its Users

3. "Phonology" and Signed Languages

4. The Present Volume


Secondary Licensing and the Nondominant Hand in ASL Phonology

1. Introduction

2. Autosegmental Licensing

3. Levels

4. The Syllable in ASL

5. The Nondominant Hand as a Secondary Licenser

6. Word and Discourse Structure Considerations

7. Conclusion

8. Appendix: Example Signs


The Nature of Constraints on the Nondominant Hand in ASL

1. Introductory Remarks

2. Theories of Autosegmental Licensing

3. Models of ASL Syllable Structure

4. The Nondominant Hand in ASL Phonology

5. Summary

6. Appendix: ASL Signs


To Branch or Not to Branch: Underspecification in ASL Handshape Contours

1. Introduction

2. Handshape Sequences in ASL

3. Spoken Language Contour Segments

4. Featural Representation of ASL Handshapes

5. Nonbranching Representation of an ASL Contour Handshape

6. Asymmetries in Timing of ASL Contours

7. Conclusion

8. Appendix: Comparisons to Other Approaches


Reflections on the Nature of ASL and the Development of ASL Linguistics: Comments on Corina's Article

1. Introduction

2. ASL as a Language

3. ASL in Linguistic Theory


Linearization of Phonological Tiers in ASL

1. Introduction

2. The Model in Brief

3. Some Morphological Templates in Two Sign Languages

4. Temporal Interpretation of the Representation

5. Linearization

6. Consequences

7. Summary and Conclusion


Response to Sandler's "Linearization of Phonological Tiers in ASL"

1. Introduction

2. Applications of the Two Analyses


Syllables and Segments: Hold the Movement and Move the Holds!

1. Introduction

2. Segmental Models

3. Interpretations of "Segment"

4. The Lack of Phonological Utility of M and H

5. The Predictability/Redundancy of H Segments

6. Feature versus Segment Behavior

7. A Model without Segments

8. Timing and Syllable Structure

9. Theoretical Implications

10. Conclusion


A Psycholinguistic Perspective on Phonological Segmentation in Sign and Speech

1. Introduction

2. Why is the Debate about Segments Important?

3. Sequential Structure in ASL

4. Conclusion


Holds and Positions: Comparing Two Models of Segmentation in ASL

1. Introduction

2. Moras and Syllable Structure

3. The MH Account of Holds

4. The Distribution of Holds

5. Different Predictions of the Two Models

6. Summary


Against Movement: Comments on Liddell's Article

1. Introduction

2. Liddell's Arguments Against Perlmutter's Theory

3. Against Movement

4. Conclusion


Sonority and Syllable Structure in American Sign Language

1. Goals

2. Secondary Movements

3. An Explanation: Syllable Structure and the Sonority Hierarchy

4. Handshape Changes

5. The Prosodie Domain of Handshape Features: Some Contrasts Explained

6. On the Distribution of P-Syllables in Lexemes

7. What Constitutes a Well-Formed Syllable in ASL?

8. The Modality-Specific, the Language-Particular, and the Universal


Phrase-Level Prosody in ASL: Final Lengthening and Phrasal Contours

1. Introduction

2. Final Lengthening

3. Hand Height Contour

4. Summary and Conclusions


Linguistic Expression and Its Relation to Modality

1. Introduction

2. Signed Languages Are Natural Languages

3. Apparent Similarities Between Signed and Spoken Languages

4. Differences Between Signed and Spoken Languages

5. Conclusions




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Academic Press
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About the Editor

Geoffrey R. Coulter

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