Towards a feature-based semantics of ASL loci


  • Jeremy Kuhn


American Sign Language famously disambiguates pronoun antecedents with the use of space. In ASL, NPs can be signed at different locations (‘loci’) in the signing space; pronouns later retrieve these NPs by pointing at the same locus. Many analyses of ASL pronouns assume that these spatial loci are the overt realization of formal variables (Lillo-Martin and Klima 1990, a.o.), based on the observations that there are arbitrarily many loci and that pronominal ambiguity can be resolved under multiple levels of embedding. In this paper, I argue that loci should not be analyzed as variables, but rather as morphosyntactic features. These results directly bear on the theory of Variable-Free Semantics (Jacobson 1999). A feature-based fragment is provided.


How to Cite

Kuhn, J. (2019). Towards a feature-based semantics of ASL loci. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 235–252. Retrieved from