Events Calendar
Dec 7
17:00 - 18:00
Does Space Structure Spatial Language? A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Spatial Expression in Sign Languages
Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies Guest Lecture
Dr Pamela Perniss (University of Brighton)

The spatial affordances of the visual modality have been assumed to give rise to a high degree of similarity between sign languages in the spatial domain. This stands in contrast to the vast structural and semantic diversity in linguistic encoding of space found in spoken languages. However, there has been little systematic and cross-linguistic investigation of the possibility and nature of linguistic diversity in spatial encoding in sign languages. In this talk, I present a comparison of locative expression in two unrelated sign languages, Turkish Sign Language (Türk İşaret Dili, TİD) and German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS). Results suggest that sign languages may display more diversity in the spatial domain than has been previously assumed, and in a way more comparable with the diversity found in spoken languages. I discuss the implications of these findings with respect to relevant dimensions of conventionality, analyticity and iconicity.


Lecture Theatre 2,
Rutherford College,
University of Kent,
United Kingdom


Open to all,

Contact: Dr Vikki Janke


Corporate Communications - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 1227 764000

Last Updated: 10/01/2012