American Sign Language grammar

Sign spaceAmerican Sign LanguageASL's featuresdirectional verbgrammatically correct ASLSyntax in ASL
The grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s.wikipedia
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American Sign Language

ASLsign languageAmerican Sign Language (ASL)
The grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s.

Grammatical aspect

aspectaspectualaspects
While there is no grammatical tense in ASL, there are numerous verbal aspects.
See Syntax in ASL for details.

Dual (grammatical number)

dualdual numberdual form
In addition, there are pronoun forms which incorporate numerals from two to five ('the three of us', 'the four of you/them', etc.), though the dual pronouns are slightly idiosyncratic in form (i.e., they have a K rather than 2 handshape, and the wrist nods rather than circles).

Sign language

sign languagesdeaf sign languagesigning
The grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s.

William Stokoe

StokoeWilliam C. Stokoe, Jr.Stokoe, W.
The grammar of American Sign Language (ASL) is the best studied of any sign language, though research is still in its infancy, dating back only to William Stokoe in the 1960s.

Morphology (linguistics)

morphologymorphologicalmorphologically
ASL morphology is to a large extent iconic.

Iconicity

iconiciconicallyIcon
ASL morphology is to a large extent iconic.

Reduplication

reduplicatedreduplicativereduplicating
This shows up especially well in reduplication and indexicality. This may be done either by reduplicating the movement of the verb if the verb has a single movement, or by restraining (making smaller and faster) the movement of the verb if it already has repeated movement.

Indexicality

indexicalindexindexicals
This shows up especially well in reduplication and indexicality.

Compound (linguistics)

compoundcompound wordcompounds
Compounding is used to derive new words in ASL, which often differ in meaning from their constituent signs.

Elision

elideddeletionelide
Compounds undergo the phonetic process of "hold deletion", whereby the holds at the end of the first constituent and the beginning of the second are elided:

Movement (sign language)

movementsigmotion
This may be done either by reduplicating the movement of the verb if the verb has a single movement, or by restraining (making smaller and faster) the movement of the verb if it already has repeated movement.

Productivity (linguistics)

productiveproductivityproductively
Another productive method is available for deriving nouns from non-stative verbs.

Suffix

suffixesendingsuffixation
ASL occasionally uses suffixation in derivation, but less often than in English.

Mouthing

mouthings
Mouthing (making what appear to be speech sounds) is important for fluent signing, and it has morphological uses.

Mimesis

mimeticmimeticsmimetic theory
The fact that this modulation is morphological rather than merely mimetic can be seen in the sign for 'fast': both 'very slow' and 'very fast' are signed by making the motion either unusually slowly or unusually quickly than it is in the citation forms of 'slow' and 'fast'—not exclusively by making it slower for 'very slow' and faster for 'very fast'.

Blend

Blend (disambiguation)
However, the two elements of these signs have fused, with features being lost from one or both, to create what might be better called a blend than a compound.

Affix

suffixaffixesaffixation
Many of ASL's affixes are combined simultaneously rather than sequentially.

Ted Supalla

Supalla
For example, Ted Supalla's seminal work on ASL verbs of motion revealed that these signs consist of many different affixes, articulated simultaneously according to complex grammatical constraints.

Esperanto

EsperantistEsperanto languageEsperantists
It is very similar to the '-ulo' suffix in Esperanto, meaning 'person' by itself and '-related person' when combined with other words.

Assimilation (phonology)

assimilationassimilatedassimilates
The prefix completely assimilates with the initial handshape of the number.

Incorporation (linguistics)

incorporationnoun incorporationincorporated
One example of this is found in the aspectual system (see below); another is numeral incorporation: There are several families of two-handed signs which require one of the hands to take the handshape of a numeral.

Classifier constructions in sign languages

classifier handshapea system of classifiersclassifier
ASL also has a system of classifiers which may be incorporated into signs.

Grammatical tense

tensetensesverb tense
While there is no grammatical tense in ASL, there are numerous verbal aspects.

Transitive verb

transitivetransitive verbstransitivity
Aspect is unusual in ASL in that transitive verbs derived for aspect lose their transitivity.