Author

Roman Caceres

Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor

Kathryn L. Hansen

Abstract

The goal of this thesis is to identify lexical categories of Lengua de Señas Argentina (LSA). Sign languages, in general, have not been extensively researched. For example, the LSA section of the World Atlas of Language Structures only mentions irregular negatives and question particles.

The research methodology included interviews with fluent deaf signers. Different descriptions in LSA were video recorded, annotated and analyzed. The researcher made initial hypotheses about the syntactic nature of signs based on the strategy used for their elicitation. Then, the researcher tested the hypotheses through syntactic analysis.

During the analysis, the researcher identified two varieties of LSA. Signers from the older generation of Deaf use one; younger Deaf with an education based on oralism use the other. During this research, the label LSAp refers to the former and LSAo to the latter. The main difference between the two varieties is structural: The basic word order in LSAp is OSV, while in LSAo, it is SVO.

This research provides syntactic evidence for eleven lexical categories of LSA: Noun, Adjective, Degree Sign, Numeral, Determiner, Personal Pronoun, Possessive Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, and Conjunction.

The Verb category includes intransitive, transitive, and ditransitive verbs. The Adverb category includes Adverbs of Frequency, Manner, Degree and Negation. The Preposition category is found only in LSAo.

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