[UMR] Carlo Cecchetto (UMR 7023) : Center embedding across modalities
UPS Pouchet, salle 159
Center embedding across modalities
Center embedded structures introduce a challenge for working memory, as shown by the fact that in spoken languages one level of center embedding is usually tolerated (cf. Humans that lions chase run), while two levels are often impossible to process (cf. Humans that lions that natives hunt chase run). In previous work on short term memory of signs, including my own, it has been shown that short-term-memory for signs is lower than short-term-memory for words. How can sign languages be fully-fledged grammatical systems, given that they depend on a limited short term memory? In order to answer this question, I will review works on subordination and relativization in sign languages and I will propose that, although even a single level of center embedding tends to be avoided in sign languages, this does not reduce their expressive power and their syntactic complexity.