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Asymmetries in relative clause comprehension in three European sign languages

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dc.contributor.author Hauser, Charlotte
dc.contributor.author Zorzi, Giorgia
dc.contributor.author Aristodemo, Valentina
dc.contributor.author Giustolisi, Beatrice
dc.contributor.author Gras, Doriane
dc.contributor.author Sala, Rita
dc.contributor.author Sánchez Amat, Jordina
dc.contributor.author Cecchetto, Carlo
dc.contributor.author Donati, Caterina
dc.date.accessioned 2023-06-15T06:07:25Z
dc.date.available 2023-06-15T06:07:25Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.citation Hauser C, Zorzi G, Aristodemo V, Giustolisi B, Gras D, Sala R, Sánchez Amat J, Cecchetto C, Donati C. Asymmetries in relative clause comprehension in three European sign languages. Glossa. 2021;6(1):72. DOI: 10.5334/GJGL.1454
dc.identifier.issn 2397-1835
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/57180
dc.description.abstract Relativization is a robust subordinating type across languages, displaying important typological variability concerning the position of the nominal head that the relative clause modifies, and sign languages are no exception. It has been widely assumed since Keenan & Comrie (1977) that the subject position is more accessible to relativization than object and oblique positions. The main aim of this paper is to investigate the extension of this famous generalization both across modalities (sign as opposed to spoken languages) and across relativization typologies (internally as opposed to externally headed relatives), and to verify how it interacts with age of first language exposure. We here report the results of a sentence-to-picture matching task assessing the comprehension of subject and object relative clauses (RCs) in three sign languages: French Sign Language (LSF), Catalan Sign Language (LSC), and Italian Sign Language (LIS). The results are that object RCs are never easier to comprehend than subject RCs. Remarkably, this is independent from the type of relative clause (internally or externally headed). As for the impact of age of exposure, we found that native signers outperform non-native signers and that a delay in language exposure emphasizes the subject/object asymmetry. Our results introduce a new potential diagnostic for LF movement: the existence of a Subject Advantage in comprehension can be used as a reliable and measurable cue for the existence of long-distance dependencies, including covert ones.
dc.description.sponsorship The research summarized in this paper is part of the SIGN-HUB project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 693349.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Ubiquity Press
dc.relation.ispartof Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. 2021;6(1):72.
dc.rights © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.title Asymmetries in relative clause comprehension in three European sign languages
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/GJGL.1454
dc.subject.keyword Sign language
dc.subject.keyword relative clauses
dc.subject.keyword comprehension
dc.subject.keyword Subject/ Object asymmetries
dc.subject.keyword age of exposure
dc.subject.keyword cross-linguistic and cross-modal typology
dc.relation.projectID info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/693349
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion

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