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An analysis of turkish sign language (tid) phonology and morphology

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2008
Kubuş, Okan
This thesis examines the phonology and morphology of Turkish Sign Language (TİD). TİD, being considered a full-fledged language, has a rich phonological and morphological system, as other sign and spoken languages do. For the purpose of this thesis; empirical data have been collected by means of a corpus study and various data elicitation tasks. As a main result of my study of TİD phonology, I propose a complete inventory of handshapes as well as a set of unmarked handshapes which are unique to TİD. I discuss the interaction between TİD finger-spelling and TİD phonology showing that well-formedness conditions constrain the use of finger-spelled letters in lexical signs I also discuss psycholinguistic evidence that sign languages have phonological systems, among them phonological effects on working memory and slips of the hand In the domain of TİD morphology, I investigate the three main morphological processes: inflection, derivation and compounding. Verb classification, plural properties, compounding, and reciprocals in TİD are investigated in detail. I argue that some TİD reciprocals use “reciprocal neutral signing space” whereby agreement becomes neutralized. TİD makes wide use of classifier constructions as for plural marking and for expressing movements of various human and non-human agents. The thesis indicates that TİD has its own grammar, including rich and diverse systems of phonology, morphology, and classification. Thus, TİD may have had a long historical development. The comparison between TİD and other sign languages shows that TİD has exclusive linguistic properties. The comparison of TİD as a visual-gestural system and Turkish as an auditory-vocal system helps to better understand the impact of modality on language phonology and morphology.