Locative Shift
Philippe Schlenker
November 2017

In American and French Sign Language (ASL and LSF), one may sometimes re-use a locus introduced to refer to a spatial location to denote an individual found at that location ('Locative Shift'). We investigate this phenomenon in ASL and establish some basic properties: the phenomenon extends to temporal and modal shift; indexical loci are not usually locative-shifted; Locative Shift may have interpretive consequences, which suggests that the co-opted spatial/temporal/modal locus can refer to an individual-in-a-situation, and this contribution sometimes appears to be at-issue; and Locative Shift can occur in highly iconic cases, possibly even without prior establishment of a situation-denoting locus. We further investigate the behavior of the co-opted loci under ellipsis. In some cases, their locative specifications are disregarded in the elided clause, yielding different readings from unelided controls; this happens when locative specifications can be taken to be inherited by agreement, but possibly also in a rather unconstrained fashion. In other cases locative specifications appear not be disregarded under ellipsis, possibly even with elided indexical pronouns, despite the fact that these resist overt Locative Shift. We show that our basic findings can be replicated in LSF, although our data leave many questions open. Finally, we argue that some pointing gestures in English can undergo something like Locative Shift.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003482
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: sign language semantics, anaphora, loci, locative shift, agreement, ellipsis, semantics, morphology, syntax
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