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Academic Paper

Title: Ellipsis in Finnish Sign Language
Author: Tommi Jantunen
Institution: University of Jyväskylä
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Syntax
Subject Language: Finnish Sign Language
Abstract: This paper deals with syntactic ellipsis in clauses in Finnish Sign Language (FinSL). The point of departure for the paper is the observation, confirmed by several studies, that clauses in FinSL are often syntactically incomplete. Building on this, the paper first describes how all core-internal clausal material may be elided in FinSL: core arguments in clauses with a verbal nucleus, core-internal NPs in clauses with a nominal nucleus, and even nuclei themselves. The paper then discusses several grammatical contexts which especially favor ellipsis in FinSL. These are question–answer pairs, two-clause coordinated structures, topic–comment structures, blend structures, and structures containing gesturally indicating Type 2 verbals. Finally, the paper argues that FinSL conforms to the main characteristics of a discourse-oriented language, and that FinSL clauses are not highly governed units syntactically.


This article appears IN Nordic Journal of Linguistics Vol. 36, Issue 3.

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