On verbal arguments in sign languages


  • Tamar Makharoblidze Ilia State University




Sign language, personality of verb, Morphological structure



   It is now accepted that sign languages ​​have a rich morphological structure in both flexion and derivation terms. Most foreign scholars believe that sign languages show simultaneous morphology rather than a consistent sequential one. Morphological marking of verbal arguments in the Georgian Sign Language (GESL) verbal paradigm is performed in three ways: 1. Deictive marking, such as the incorporated verb paradigm; 2. Possessive-destination marking with semantic content, such as version category, expressing respectful and disrespectful forms, as an additional semantic marking for an indirect object; and 3. Morpho-syntactic marking – adding the morphological markers for arguments conveyed by nouns. The subject of the transitive verb in the aorist is expressed with an ergative case, for the rest verbal forms the subject is in nominative (unmarked), while the indirect object is often marked with a deictive marker of dative case. Thus, here we have the combination of the abovementioned first and third types. In GESL (and in other sign languages as well) such combinations are usual.

   The semantic groups of verbs in sign languages can be distinguished according to the following two principles:

  1. The first approach follows and repeats the approaches of spoken languages. Here the classification models of verbs are grouped according to the lexical semantics of verb roots.
  2. The second approach can be formulated according to the proper characteristics of sign language verbs. With such an approach, the semantic classification of verbs takes into account the kinetic characteristics of the verb and not its lexical-semantic content. In particular, it will be possible to distinguish the following two main groups of verb in sign languages:Body-related (or body anchored) verbs, and B. Free verbs.


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How to Cite

Tamar Makharoblidze. (2022). On verbal arguments in sign languages. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, (27). https://doi.org/10.52340/lac.2022.940