Chiara Calderone on communicative strategies in Italian Sign Language

Chiara Calderone (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) will give a guest lecture: Could you retrieve it? sentence topics and communicative strategies in Italian Sign Language (Lingua dei Segni Italiana)

Time: May 10, 2019 at 10:15
Place: HF-bygget, seminarrom 301

Abstract: The current research investigates how old information (topic) is managed among Italian Sign Language users. Particularly, it addresses the prosodic and syntactic strategies adopted by signers in signalling shared knowledge in spontaneous communicative exchanges. The findings in LIS have shown that three types of sentence topic are distinguishable: aboutness topics, scene-setting topics and contrastive topics. All the three topic types under analysis display specific non-manual markers, which fulfil both prosodic and pragmatic functions. Focusing on aboutness topics, the retrievability of shared information (which is assumed by the signer) may affect the morpho-syntactic realizations of such a topic type. In line with other research on spoken languages (Ariel 1988, Givón 1983), the more accessible a referent is, the less phonological material is required to retrieve it. LIS seems to organize information according to the same criteria, but as a visual-gestural language, it also displays some language-specific strategies. In a scale from less accessible to more accessible information, the following referential hierarchy seems to hold true in LIS: DPs > pronouns > null (with predicate classifiers) > null (with agreement verbs) > null (with non-agreement verbs).

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