Classifiers in Turkish Sign Language

Arik E.

BILIG, vol.67, no.67, pp.1-24, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 67 Issue: 67
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-24
  • Keywords: Turkish Sign Language, Classifiers, language typology, spatial language, EXPRESSIONS, GESTURES
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigated the use of classifiers in Turkish Sign Language (TID) while describing static and motion events. As expected, the results showed that TID uses classifiers to mark objects' intrinsic features as well as their location and motion polymorphemically. The results indicated that a particular TID classifier can be used to mark a set of objects and a particular object can be marked with a set of TID classifiers. The study also compared TID classifiers with American Sign Language (ASL) and Croatian Sign Language (HZJ) classifiers. The results showed the functions of classifiers are similar in these three sign languages. However, referential properties of a particular classifier may not be the same and a particular referent may not be coded by the same classifier in these languages. This study suggested that even though classifiers seem to be iconic, they are part of the grammar of the given sign language.