Modalities of Language workshop

WhenOctober 30, 2018 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
WhereCobb Lecture Hall, Room 106
Contact InformationLinguistics Department
DescriptionJenny Lu (UChicago)

Signers do not always prioritize iconicity in production

In order to understand the resemblance between form and meaning – iconicity – one has to compare the structural correspondences between the features of the form and meaning (Taub, 2001; Emmorey, 2014). In the current study, we ask: when the meaning of an event changes, do signers automatically modify iconic signs to preserve the iconic mapping? If signers do modify their signs, how does phonology constrain the types of iconic mapping they can form?
Preliminary data show that when the meaning of the event changes, in keeping with iconicity, signers often change either handshape or movement of the lexical sign’s citation form (e.g., producing the citation form WALK for the event of a girl is walking vs. modifying the speed of the sign WALK for the event of a girl is walking quickly). However, sometimes, signers would not modify the citation form but instead add a depicting construction (e.g., for the event, a girl walking backwards, signers tended to produce the citation form WALK and then add a depicting construction to represent the person walking backwards). In this case, the sign for WALK does not iconically map onto the event as the citation form is used. One explanation is that phonology and articulation ease constrain the type of iconic mappings that signers form (Emmorey, 2014; Napoli et al., 2014). I will present some data and would like to get feedback on the stimuli, analyses, and methods to answer follow-up questions.

Modalities of Language is a CAS workshop that provides a space for graduate students and faculty members to present and discuss their research. Join us as we explore how the study of sign language, gesture, and their intersection can inform our understanding of language on the whole.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Workshops
Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.