Some observations on wh-clauses in Japanese Sign Language

Asako Uchibori, Kazumi Matsuoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper offers basic observations about wh-questions in JSL with clause-final wh-signs, i.e., wh-finals. Basic word order of matrix wh-sentences in Japanese Sign Language (JSL) have been reported by previous studies such as Morgan (2006), Fischer and Gong (2010), Kimura (2011), and Akahori and Oka (2011), among others, which reported that wh-signs can appear in the clause-final position in addition to clause-initial and in-situ positions. In order to investigate the syntactic mechanism of JSL wh-constructions, it is also necessary to confirm basic syntactic properties of wh-signs in embedded clauses. However, distributions of wh-signs in embedded clauses have not been fully investigated in previous studies. Based on the discussion on the word order of sentences with direct and indirect speech in JSL in Uchibori et al. (2011), this paper demonstrates that wh-signs occur in embedded clauses that are not instances of direct speech (or quotations) of wh-questions, but those of syntactically embedded indirect speech. In embedded clauses, wh-finals appear as in the matrix wh-questions. Relevant theoretical issues are discussed concerning the relation between linear properties (i.e., distributions of wh-expressions) and the structural properties of natural language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Japanese Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1


  • Areas of interest: Japanese Sign Language
  • embedded construction
  • embedded wh-clause
  • quotation
  • wh-double
  • wh-final
  • wh-question

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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