Constructing signs: Place as a symbolic structure in signed languages

Sherman Wilcox, Corrine Occhino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper presents a usage-based, Cognitive Grammar analysis of Place as a symbolic structure in signed languages. We suggest that many signs are better viewed as constructions in which schematic or specific formal properties are extracted from usage events alongside specific or schematic meaning. We argue that pointing signs are complex constructions composed of a pointing device and a Place, each of which are symbolic structures having form and meaning. We extend our analysis to antecedent-anaphora constructions and directional verb constructions. Finally, we discuss how the usage-based approach suggests a new way of understanding the relationship between language and gesture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-404
Number of pages34
JournalCognitive Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitive grammar
  • gesture
  • signed language
  • usage-based theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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