Agent defocusing in two-participant clauses in Finnish Sign Language
Nordlund, Sanna (2019). Agent defocusing in two-participant clauses in Finnish Sign Language. Glossa, 4 (1), 82. DOI: 10.5334/gjgl.801
© 2019 The Author
This article investigates what strategies are used for defocusing the agent in two-participant clauses in FinSL. The question is approached by analyzing a set of data that consists of videotaped informational texts. Several strategies for agent defocusing were found. First, the agent can simply be omitted. Second, the agent can be expressed with a pronominal pointing sign used non-referentially. Pronominal pointing signs that can be used non-referentially include at least the non-first person plural pronominal pointing sign and the first person singular pointing sign, possibly also the first person plural pointing sign. This study also suggests that constructed action is an additional, optional strategy through which the signer can tell the event either from the patient’s or the agent’s perspective. No special passive marking was found, and the form of clauses defocusing the agent does not seem to differ from that of corresponding clauses including a referential agent. The non-referential reading comes from the fact that there is no antecedent to which a zero, an indicating verb or a non-first person pronominal pointing sign could refer, and with first person pronominal pointing signs the interpretation is made based on the context. ...