Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

The Oxford Handbook Of Morphological Theory


Sign language morphology adds new considerations to well-studied areas, including category identification, inflection vs. derivation, the notions of ideophones, subject, and root, and properties used in lexical classifications. It makes necessary the new notion of reactive effort in understanding how biomechanical factors help shape the lexicon. The prevalence of simultaneity (verticality) over linearity (horizontal temporality) shows that linguistic analysis must include the study of physical properties (visual vs. auditory) if we are to understand language typology. Phonological parameters can have meaning associated with them, either arbitrarily or because they are iconic. This allows for lexical networks that require the mechanism of ion morphs. Certain phenomena are open to analysis as part of a system of visual representation needed in communication; that is, they are gestural and not part of language per se. So the grammar of sign languages covers a more narrow range of phenomena than that of spoken languages.


sign language morphology, iconicity, vertical morphology, ion morphs, agreement, compound

Published By

Oxford University Press


J. Audring and F. Masini

Included in

Linguistics Commons