Adam Schembri (Birmingham)
‘Reflections on some current issues in cognitive/functional sign language linguistics: agreement, lexicalisation and gesture’
In this paper, I will re-examine on some of the key aspects of my work on the linguistics of British Sign Language and Auslan: the notion of ‘agreement’ marking in indicating verbs, on lexicalisation and de-lexicalisation, and the relationship between sign languages and gesture. Recent work in cognitive linguistics has challenged Liddell’s (2003) proposal that ‘agreement’ marking in spoken and signed languages are distinct phenomena (Kibrik, 2019), that ‘lexicalised’ signs are stored in a signer’s mental lexicon, whereas other types of construction are not (Lepic, 2019), and that aspects of sign language may be categorised as ‘gestural’ (Occhino & Wilcox, 2017). I will discuss how these developments build on existing work in sign language linguistics, including how they link to the Semiological Model. Will this latest work effectively allow us to bypass some of the debates that have pre-occupied some of us in the field for the last two decades?