Tid: Onsdag 19 oktober 2016, kl. 15:00–16:30
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

Föreläsningen hålls på engelska och teckenspråkstolkar finns.
Postseminarium följer direkt efter seminariet i pentryt.


Learners of a second language (L2) commonly fall back on their first language (L1) as scaffolding of the target linguistic system. An intriguing question that has not yet been thoroughly explored is whether learners of a sign language have at their disposal any system that serves as foundation to develop an L2 expressed in the manual-visual modality. Based on previous research suggesting that learners may rely on their gestural system at the initial stages of sign language exposure, the current project set out to understand whether and how gestures may intervene in sign L2 learning. Data from a pantomime generation task revealed that hearing adults have a remarkable gestural system that makes systematic semantic distinctions through the implementation of 1) different types of iconic depictions, 2) combinations of gestures, and 3) exploiting different forms of ostensive cues (e.g., pointing). Interestingly, learners’ gestures overlap to different degrees in form and meaning with conventionalised signs and this overlap has a strong impact in the perception of their meaning. That is, the more a gesture overlaps with a sign, the more likely learners will be to accurately guess their meaning. The sign-gesture overlap also seems to influence people’s perception of how fitting the form-meaning mappings are and as a consequence predict iconicity ratings (i.e., the higher the overlap, the higher the iconicity ratings). Further, some preliminary analysis seems to suggest that high sign-gesture overlap has a negative effect on sign production in that participants tend to produce their own gestural forms instead of signs’ phonological structure. The general picture that emerges from these studies is that learners’ gestural system plays a significant role in sign L2 learning and that it serves as stepping stone at the earliest stages of sign language exposure.

Gerardo Ortega is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI), Nijmegen
http://www.mpi.nl/people/ortega-gerardo | http://www.ru.nl/mlc/people/dr-gerardo-ortega/ 

Varmt välkomna!
Johanna Mesch​