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   ASLU:  "Classifier Predicates"



Spelling #HURT at the shoulder is a "locative" but the handshapes do not tell us anything about the pain or what caused it.
If a locative has a handshape that has independent meaning it is time to instead label the locative as a "classifier."
Signing "SCALPEL-SLICE" at the shoulder is a locative BUT it goes further in that the handshape tells us a scalpel was used thus SCALPEL-SLICE is a classifier-predicate. (Vali, 2000)

A challenge we face is that the word "classifiers" (in ASL discussions) it actually just a shorthand term that can be short for EITHER:
1. A classifier-handshape
2. A classifier-predicate (which is a CL-handshape combined with "a comment")

Many classifier-predicates are also locatives. 

Classifier-predicates that simply describe size and shape (but do not convey location) are not locatives.
 
"Location" can be morphemic and not just phonemic.  What that means is "location" (where you do a sign) can have meaning and not just be a way of articulating the sign. 

If I sign "rope" from the head it likely means a braid of hair.
The R handshape conveys independent meaning ("twisted or rolled up") thus it is a classifier-handshape. 
The R handshape coming from the head is a "classifier predicate" -- since it is a classifier handshape combined with a comment.  The comment consists using the classifier-handshape as a locative thus giving more meaning to the classifier-handshape and turning the classifier handshape into a classifier-predicate).

Thus we can start distinguishing differences between types of classifier predicates:
1. classifier-locative-predicate
2. classifier-size-predicate
3. classifier-shape-predicate
4. classifier-speed-predicate
5. classifier-movement-path-predicate
and so forth.
 


References:
"Vali, Clayton & Lucas, Ceil (2000) Linguistics of American Sign Language, 3rd Ed."


 


 


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