18.6 Possessive pronouns

English Notes
BSL Video

3) BSL does not always use possessive pronouns the way English does. BSL uses a closed fist for MY, OUR, YOUR etc when referring to temporary objects / possessions. However, BSL also uses pointing as a possessive pronoun when the object is 'inalienable' or 'permanent'. For example, in MY NAME a pointing finger is used to signify MY instead of a closed fist. OUR (TWO OF US) MOTHER uses two pointing fingers moving between the signer and one other person to signify OUR, instead of a closed fist. MY KIDNEYS similarly does not use a closed fist to signify MY because the kidneys are not temporary possessions.

4) BSL pronouns include additional information about the noun. In the signed form TEACHER (where we sign TEACHER, and then point - meaning "the teacher, he ..." ) the pronoun refers both to the teacher, and also to where he is. English pronouns do not tell us where a person is.

5) The English pronoun it refers to almost anything that is not a person. English uses it to refer to a house, a dream, an aeroplane, an enormous strawberry gateau, the whole of the USA, the whole world, or a tiny virus. In English it is used for anything of any size or shape, just so long as it is not human. BSL can simply point with the index finger to refer to any "it", but BSL can also indicate different shaped and sized referents by the use of various handshapes, which English does not do.


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