Syntax: sentence structure and grammar in sign language

In linguistics, syntax is the study of sentence structure in a language. It inspects how words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences that are governed by the rules. Every language has its own syntax or rules of word order and grammar in sentence.

Basic sentence structure

Sentence structure is how all the parts of a sentence fit together, such as subject, predicate, direct object, indirect object. A sentence generally requires at least a verb and a subject, sometimes except for a command. A verb is an action and a subject is the noun that does the action. Some sentences can add objects.

Two most basic parts of a sentence are the subject and predicate.

Other parts include: Nouns, verbs, predicates, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, determiners, pronouns, and conjunctions.

Types of sentence structure

Types of sentence structures include simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and compound-complex sentences.

A simple sentence is SUBJECT + PREDICATE. E.g. IX1 KISS-FIST READING.

SUBJECT + ACTION + OBJECT (SVO sentence). E.g. IX1 KISS-FIST READING BOOK.

Topicalization is also commonly used in ASL. It expresses as a TOPIC + COMMENT. On a sentence level, it uses the OSV structure (Object/\ + SUBJECT ACTION). E.g. /\BOOK/\ IX1 KISS-FIST READING.

Grammar rules

Grammatical agreement. E.g. IX1 MEET-me, where the verb MEET is inflected to agree with the subject and/or the object in a sentence.

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Related posts

sentence structure and sentence types.

You may also be interested in topicalization: topic-comment structure.

Noun-verb pairs.

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