Possessive and Existential Constructions

Ulrike Zeshan and Pamela Perniss (eds)

The volume also includes the full set of elicitation materials used for data collection in this cross-linguistic study, as well as a CD with video clips illustrating examples from the sign language data. 

The concept of possession is central to human experience. Thus the variety of ways in which we can ‘have’ diverse items such as a family, an idea, or a headache is matched by a rich array of linguistic structures. An understanding of the full range of possible structural variation requires the study of languages in both natural modalities, signed and spoken, making this volume a very timely addition to research in the target domain.

This volume summarises results from a large-scale typological investigation on possession and existence in 28 sign languages around the world. It includes detailed investigations of sign language data from Venezuela, Belgium, Jordan, Uganda, Japan, Austria, Catalonia, and the US, as well as two sign languages from ‘deaf villages’ in Bali and in Ghana. Detailed data from these village communities, which have a high incidence of hereditary deafness, offer particularly fascinating insights and have never before featured in a comparative typological study.