Sign Language in Göttingen

Jana Hosemann




Since 2010, I am a scientific researcher here in Goettingen. I successfully defended my dissertation in April 2015. Since then, I am a post-doc in the Goettingen Sign Language research team and specialized on experimental studies.

PhD Dissertation
In spring 2015, I finished my dissertation with the title "The processing of German Sign Language sentences. Three event-related potential studies on phonological, morpho-syntactic, and semantic aspects." All together, I conducted three individual studies using an event-related potential paradigm to investigate different aspects of the grammar of German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS). In cooperation with the working group "Neurokognitive Grundlagen sprachlicher Universalien" (Department for English and Linguistics, Uni Mainz), I investigated the processing of semantic and morpho-syntactic aspects of DGS, especially with regard to the three-dimensionality of the signing space. In cooperation with the working group "Wortschatzinsel" (Georg-Elias-Müller-Institut für Psychologie, Uni Göttingen), I conducted an experiment on phonological priming in DGS (L1) and on the cross-modal cross-language co-activation of graphematical representations of German (L2).

Research interests
Thus, I am particularly interested in psycho- and neurolinguistic questions of sign languages in general. I think it is fascinating to investigate how sign languages are lexically and grammatically represented and how they are processed online. It is especially interesting to study the impact of modality-specific differences between sign and spoken languages on cognitive processes. Furthermore, my research interests also lay in the similarities and differences of the grammars of European sign languages (and those of the world). For example, in a recent cooperation project, we investigated the relevance of nonmanual components in conditional clauses in DGS and Israelian Sign Language (German-Israeli Foundation G.I.F. "Non-manual Signals and the Grammar of two (Related) Sign Languages"). Since 2016, I am also involved in the Horizon 2020 project "The Sign Hub: preserving, researching and fostering the linguistic, historical and cultural heritage of European Deaf signing communities with an integral resource", funded by the European Union.

How I started in sign language research
The German movie "Jenseits der Stille" ("Beyond Silence") initiated my interest in sign languages. After watching the movie several times and after finishing high school, I took a volunteering year in the Albert-Gutzman school for the Deaf in Berlin. During my linguistic studies, I particularly focused on psycholinguistics, sign language linguistics and philosophy of language. After spending one semester at the University of Frankfurt, I decided to write my masters thesis on "Eye gaze and verb agreement in German Sign Language. A first glance", which marked the first milestone of my scientific career.

Misc
Outside of everyday university life, I am all into rock climbing, (thru-)hiking, and any other outdoor activities.