Schlenker, Philippe:  2014, Super Monsters (Parts I and II). Manuscripts, Institut Jean-Nicod and New York University

Schlenker, Philippe: 2014: Super Monsters I: Attitude and Action Role Shift in Sign Language. LingBuzz.

Abstract: In sign language 'Role Shift', the signer can adopt another person's perspective to report a propositional attitude ('Attitude Role Shift') or an action ('Action Role Shift', often called 'Constructed Action'); this is overtly marked by various means, such as a rotation of the signer's body and/or eyegaze shift. This operation can be analyzed as an overt instantiation of the 'monstrous' mechanism of 'context shift' postulated for attitude reports in some spoken languages (Schlenker 2003, Anand and Nevins 2004, Anand 2006, Quer 2005). For Attitude Role Shift, we argue that this analysis brings new light to the typology of context-shifting operations: while some sign languages make it possible to 'mix perspectives' under Role Shift (Quer 2005), we argue that ASL and LSF obey the constraint that indexicals should 'shift together' (Anand 2006). Still, in ASL and LSF, data from Attitude Role Shift alone cannot fully exclude an alternative analysis based on quotation without context shift. By contrast, Action Role Shift, which has no known counterpart in spoken language, is not amenable to a quotational analysis because it is used to describe actions that don't involve any speech- or thought-acts; in that respect, the context-shifting operations we find in sign language are 'super monsters' that can shift the context outside of attitude reports. We develop a context-shifting analysis that applies both to Attitude and to Action Role Shift. (Shortcomings of this analysis are discussed in Part II, which extends the theory with an 'iconic component' that addresses them.)

Schlenker, Philippe: 2014: Super Monsters II: Role Shift, Iconicity and Quotation in Sign Language. LingBuzz.

Abstract: While sign language 'Role Shift' can be analyzed as an overt instance of context shift, we argue that it has two broad properties that require a special treatment. First, Role Shift used to report attitudes ('Attitude Role Shift') has a quotational component which does not follow from a simple context-shifting analysis. Second, Role Shift used to report other actions ('Action Role Shift') has a strong iconic component:  properties of signs that can be assigned to the reported situation (e.g. a happy face) must be so interpreted. We argue that both varieties of Role Shift should be analyzed as context shift, but with an important addition: the expressions that appear under Role Shift should be interpreted maximally iconically, i.e. so as to maximize the possibilities of projection between the signs used and the situation they make reference to (Role Shift is thus a 'super monster' not just in that it can shift the context outside of attitude reports, as was argued in Part I, but also in that it has an iconic and thus hyperintensional component).  This accounts both for the quotational character of Attitude Role Shift (in this case, maximal iconicity reduces to quotation), and for the fact that Action Role Shift has a strong iconic component. Finally, this analysis vindicates the view that some expressions may be simultaneously used and mentioned/demonstrated, as argued for instance in Recanati 2001.