Comparative and Superlative Adjectives in Iranian Sign Language

Zohreh Ghari


Comparison is an inseparable part of a language. It can be performed using various constructions in both oral and signing languages. English and Persian, for instance use affixes for comparative and superlative adjectives. Sign languages such as Australian Sign Language (Auslan), New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) employ affixes, use intensifiers and nonmanual features (by itself or along with a sign) to indicate a comparison. This research was aimed to investigate the constructions employed to make comparisons in Iranian Sign Language, Zaban Eshare Irani (ZEI). The findings indicate that, besides the aforementioned constructions used in other sign languages, excluding ‘affixes’, the main construction ZEI signers used was descriptive mode of discourse (e.g. Anker 2004), individually explaining the compared topics to clarify their preference. To a lesser extent, numbering, topicalization, and repetition were also used which mostly united together or alone in the same discourse. A similar construction was also observed for both comparative and superlative adjectives. This study opens a new window to comprehend the deaf people’s mind of thinking, and will benefit studies on language and linguistics, sign language interpreters and those that are interested.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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