Nominal Possession in American Sign Language

Natasha Renee Abner


This study re-visits an alternation in American Sign Language wherein the nominal member of a noun-verb pair is characterized by tense reduplication of the movement associated with the root (Newport and Supalla 1978, Klima and Bellugi 1979). This alternation is shown to be (a) highly productive but (b) constrained to the derivation of non-event nominalizations in the sense of Grimshaw (1990). The absence of an eventive interpretation supports root-level application of the morphosyntactic process involved and explains the observed restrictions on how possessor arguments in nominalizations of this type are interpreted.

Full Text: