A perfect end: A study of syllable codas in South African Sign Language
AbstractSouth African Sign Language (SASL) is an understudied language with a rich and interesting phonology. For instance, while the language allows onsetless syllables, it does not allow codaless syllables, except in a small class of signs which do not include path movement. This article identifies and defines possible constraints on syllable codas in SASL. Using a video dictionary as data, we have coded handshapes at locations occurring at the onset and coda of the more common signs in the lexicon. In handshape, it has been found that the selected fingers may move to create different handshapes in the coda position, but that these coda handshapes are often , , [A], [Å] or [S], which are the unmarked handshapes of the non-dominant hand in asymmetrical two-handed signs (Sandler and Lillo-Martin 2006). Furthermore, the joint specification for the selected fingers can also vary in the coda position, but there appear to be strict limitations on which joint combinations are permitted in the onset-coda relationship. There are also constraints on coda location. The major body region can change within a single syllable, and the preferred body regions in the coda position are [body] and [H2]. It is evident not only that handshape and location constraints occur at the coda position, but that these constraints show patterns similar to coda neutralisation in many spoken languages.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).