From about 1980, the sign linguistics literature was dominated by analyses o f sign languages in traditional linguistic morphological terms. In particular, treatments o f verb agreement, verb aspect, and the so-called classifier1 constructions in many sign languages made sign languages appear morphologically rich, and Klima and Bellugi (1979) characterized ASL as an inflecting language comparable to Latin. Up through the 1990s analyses o f sign languages in traditional morphological terms came under increasing scrutiny. In contrast to Klima and Bellugi’s characterization o f ASL as an inflecting language, Bergman and Dahl (1994) claimed that Swedish Sign Language is “basically an inflection-less language” (p. 418), but use traditional linguistic terminology for sign modifications when they describe Swedish Sign Language as having “a very well-developed ideophonic morphology” (p. 418). The strongest attack against morphological analyses o f sign modifications is Liddell’s (1990, 1995,2000) gestural analysis o f the deictic elements o f signs (the direction o f pointing and what is traditionally called agreement). Liddell and M etzger (1998) not only described spatial modifications o f signs as gestural and thus nonlinguistic, but also characterized many manual “gestures” as such (i.e., as part o f a gestural code in contrast to linguistic signs or words o f the sign lexicon; see also Emmorey, 1999). In their analysis, a signed message is provided by a combination o f gram-
matically (i.e., linguistically) coded meaning and nongrammatically coded meaningful gesture or gestural demonstration. Another analysis o f signed discourse as manifesting different types o f representation o f meaning can be found in Macken, Perry, and Haas (1995). They distinguish iconic from arbitrary ways o f representing meaning but see ASL and presumably other sign languages as single, although heterogeneous, communication systems.