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Unfortunately, this symposium has been cancelled due to restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Detail Summary
Date 1 April 2020
Time 09:30 - 13:00
Location Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis
Room VOC zaal

Carlo Geraci (CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod), Annika Herrmann (Universität Hamburg), Onno Crasborn (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), and Vadim Kimmelman (Universitetet i Bergen) will give guest lectures on the occasion of Marloes Oomen’s PhD defense the day before. Everyone is cordially invited to attend.

The languages of the symposium are English and Sign Language of the Netherlands. Interpreters will be present.


09:15   Opening of room
09:30 Carlo Geraci (CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod)
Am I invisible? On subject omission in KODA
10:15 Felicitas Otte and Annika Herrmann (Universität Hamburg)
Looking at accessibility through corpus data – The referentiality of classifiers in German Sign Language (DGS)
11:00 Coffee/tea break
11:30 Onno Crasborn (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
12:15 Vadim Kimmelman (Universitetet i Bergen)
Non-manual marking of grammar and emotions: a quantitative approach
13:00 Closing


Carlo Geraci: Am I invisible? On subject omission in KODA
The presentation will start with the observation made in Koulidobrova (2012) that differently from cases of unimodal bilingual, American Sign Language-English bimodal bilingual kids display a unique pattern of subject omission. In this work, made in collaboration with Angélique Jaber and Caterina Donati, we replicated a similar pattern in French Sign Language-French.

The findings are quite important as the difference between unimodal and bimodal bilingualism in this respect targets one of the key theoretical points of all theories of bilingualism, namely the directionality of Transfer. We explore the theoretical consequences of these findings and evaluate the possibility that modality specific properties may provide an elegant account for the facts.

Felicitas Otte and Annika Herrmann: Looking at accessibility through corpus data – The referentiality of classifiers in German Sign Language (DGS) 
Referential expressions in sign languages such as pronouns, classifiers, buoys, etc. may pick up a previously introduced referent and are used to build up reference chains (cf. Barberà & Quer 2018, Zwitserlood 2012, etc.). In this presentation, we will evaluate a subset of the corpus data of the DGS Corpus project with regard to classifiers and their referential properties looking at classifiers in different types, frequency of occurrence, and their surrounding elements incl. their antecedents and the following referential expressions. The data is analyzed within the framework of the accessibility theory (Ariel 2001) particularly investigating the ranking of referential expressions and their status in sign languages and how these elements compare to the hierarchy proposed for spoken languages. The frequency of classifiers depends on text type rather than region (tendency) or age. Furthermore, the type and the position of the classifier seem to systematically predict the referential chain and thus the choice of the respective accessibility marker and its position. We also present some interesting findings indicating that classifiers may – at least in corpus data – be used in lower accessibility contexts than expected.  

Onno Crasborn: Will there still be NGT in 20 years?
The public interest in sign language in the Netherlands has seen a steady increase in the last decades. For instance, last year, the ’sign dancers’ at the Eurovision Song Contest received wide acclaim from a substantial general audience simply for what it was, a beautiful visual rendition of various performances. Moreover, online courses like the Sign Challenge promote the widespread use of sign-supported speech for a much larger audience than people in contact with the deaf community. This has enormous potential, given the fact that 10 percent of the population in Western societies has hearing loss. However, the boundaries between NGT and ‘visual Dutch’ risk to become more blurred than they already are. What are the chances that NGT in its current form with a grammar that’s very different from Dutch will still be in use in, say, twenty years time? In this presentation I will sketch the present language contact situation, and take a first stab at predicting how this is going to evolve in the near future.

Vadim Kimmelman: Non-manual marking of grammar and emotions: a quantitative approach
Signers use facial expressions for various purposes, such as expressing emotions (e.g. surprise) and grammatical meanings (e.g. question marking). Sometimes both emotional and grammatical information is expressed simultaneously, which can potentially lead to a clash. For example, yes-no questions are often marked by raised eyebrows, and anger is marked by lowered eyebrows, so what happens if a signer wants to ask an angry yes-no question? We investigated this issue for Kazakh-Russian Sign Language in an experimental setting by asking 9 native signer to produce sentences with three emotions (neutral/anger/surprise) and in three sentence types (statement/yes-no question/wh-question). We extracted exact eyebrow positions using OpenPose and analysed the data quantitatively. The study shows complex patterns of interactions between emotions and grammar in determining eyebrow position in this language.

Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis

Room VOC zaal

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX Amsterdam