EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship
 

Title

The Expression of the Location Event-Structure Metaphor in American Sign Language

Department

American Sign Language and Interpreter Education

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

Conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) proposes that there is a large system of conceptual metaphors in our cognition known as event-structure metaphors (ESMs). Through ESMs, we understand the conceptual domains of actions, causes, changes, states, purposes, and so forth in terms of the aspects of the domain of motion in space. ESMs are largely organized under two systems, or branches—the location and object branches. Earlier studies present linguistic evidence that these ESM conceptual systems are expressed in unrelated spoken languages (English, Hungarian, Chinese, and Arabic) thus supporting the claim that ESMs are universal. In this article, I explore the question of whether the location branch of event-structure metaphors (location ESM) is exhibited in American Sign Language (ASL). The article begins with a brief review of the conceptual metaphor theory and its application to signed languages. This is followed by a summary of the location ESM and references to studies that support its cross-linguistic universality. A description of data and methods used in this investigation is given. I then define each of the eleven submappings of the location ESM system. For each respective submapping, I reference English examples from the CMT literature. I then analyze evidence selected from ASL corpora suggesting that each of the submappings in the location ESM system is exhibited in ASL. This study is the first systematic investigation in a signed language that supports the claim of universality of each main submapping in the location ESM system.

Journal Title

Sign Language Studies

ISSN

1533-6263

Journal Volume

16

Journal Issue

3

Article Starting Page

389

Article Ending Page

432

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