Number in Estonian Sign Language


Merilin Miljan


Institute of the Estonian Language



Abstract. The article presents an exploratory analysis of the grammatical category of number in Estonian Sign Language (ESL). The manifestation of number in ESL is described from the cross-linguistic perspective proposed by Corbett (2000), and focuses on the meaning distinc­tions of the ESL number system, as well as on the morphological operations which are employed to express these. It is shown that the notion of number in a sign language diverges from the more straightforward accounts of number in spoken languages, as it is not only the distinction between singular and plural that is obligatorily shown, but also such specific information as the locus and arrangement of the referents of the marked sign.