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Linguistics: Nonmanual Markers

  • By: Josep Quer
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

The first stages of sign language research concentrated almost exclusively on the articulations produced by the hands and forearms. However, it quickly became clear that a whole array of other articulations produced by the torso, the head, and the face are also crucially involved in encoding lexical and grammatical information. These other articulations, known as nonmanual markings, have been the object of intensive research. In some cases, their proper characterization in linguistic terms is still at the center of heated debates, but by now it is unquestionable that they constitute an integral part of signed utterances. This overview will focus on a subset of nonmanual markers, namely those that are articulated by the face in the broad sense, namely by the eyebrows, the mouth or ...

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