|University of Texas – Austin
|Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures
|Egyptian sign language; Signed language; Sign linguistics; Sign typology
|Full text PDF:
This research represents an initial attempt at a linguistic analysis of the grammar of Egyptian Sign Language (LIM). The paper addresses verbal agreement, negation, and aspectual marking in LIM and frames these grammatical features in a typological context. Particular attention is paid to the class of directional verbs, which spatially inflect to agree with their arguments, and the sub-class of backward directional verbs. The agreement structures of these verbs, as well as suppletive imperative verbal forms, generally pattern with directional verbs in other signed languages; this paper analyzes apparent exceptions in relation to similar irregularities in other signed languages. There is an unusually large inventory of negative-marking strategies and an average-sized set of aspectual markers in LIM. Among them are crosslinguistically uncommon patterns such as frustrative (non-success/non-achievement) aspectual marking, a negative imperative, and possibly also morphological negation via either handshape change or palm-orientation reversal. The analyses and questions presented here lay the groundwork for future research in LIM and other signed languages.