Information structure: theoretical perspectives
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Original versionIn: Quer, J., Pfau, R., & Herrmann, A. (Eds.). (2021). The Routledge Handbook of Theoretical and Experimental Sign Language Research https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315754499
This chapter discusses the terminology commonly used in the information structure literature: in particular, topic, focus, contrast, and emphasis. An important component of our discussion is the impact of the visual-gestural modality on the syntactic and prosodic encoding of information structure. Kimmelman argued that in RSL and NGT, doubling is also used for information structure-related functions, but proposed that the functions of doubling are better described as foregrounding. Information structure is a field of linguistics covered in numerous books and articles. Information structure in sign languages has also been investigated almost from the first days of sign linguistics; however, as is often the case, most of the available studies focus on a very small number of sign languages, and among these, American Sign Language is the one most prominently represented. The chapter aims to theoretical research, It discusses the few available experimental or psycholinguistic studies on information structure in sign languages.