Timelines and Temporal Pointing in Chinese Sign Language
Lin Hao, Jeremy Kuhn, Huan Sheng, Philippe Schlenker
October 2021

We argue that Chinese Sign Language (CSL) provides new insights into temporal anaphora, as well as new puzzles. Partee (1973) showed that temporal talk in English involves abstract anaphoric mechanisms akin to pronouns, although with a very different form. Schlenker (2013) argued that in American Sign Language (ASL), one and the same overt pronominal form, the pointing sign, can have individual and temporal uses, but his data involved the same loci across domains: no formal property distinguished temporal from individual anaphora. We replicate ASL temporal anaphora data in CSL, but we also display a new finding: CSL allows for locus establishment and anaphoric pointing on two specifically temporal timelines, a sagittal one (past is backwards) and a vertical one (past is up). Not only can temporal anaphora be overt in CSL; it can also be morphologically distinguished from nominal anaphora (various interesting restrictions on the timelines are also described).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006243
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Glossa
keywords: sign language, csl, chinese sign language, loci, temporal anaphora, tense, semantics, semantics, morphology, syntax
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