Sign Language in Göttingen


Derya Nuhbalaoglu: finished her PhD
Derya DefenseCONGRATULATIONS! In August 2018, Derya submitted her dissertation, which she successfully defended it in October. In her dissertation she compares anaphora resolution in two sign languages, German Sign Language and Turkish Sign Language. She investigated how signers use referential expressions, especially pointing signs, in both languages. The day of the defense sticked to all Göttingen traditions: after a trolley ride, Derya also successfully kissed the Gänseliesel. We all celebrate with her!

Diane Brentari: "Observing phonologization in sign languages"
Besuch_Diane_Sept18During the week of September 3rd until 7th, Diane Brentari (University of Chicago) has visited our team in Göttingen. Moreover, she gave a talk on conventionalization in sign languages and presented experimental data of American and Nicaraguan Sign Language on Wednesday, September 5th. We would like to thank the presenter, the interpreters, and the audience for an inspiring evening.

Talk by Diane Brentari
Diane Brentari (University of Chicago) is going to visit us and give a talk on Wednesday, September 5th. She will present on "Observing phonologization in sign languages". Everybody is cordially invited.
When: Wednesday, September 5th, 4-5:45 p.m.
Where: Library, CRC Text Structures, Nikolausberger Weg 23, Göttingen

Developing a first comprehensive reference grammar of DGS
As an integral component of the Sign-Hub project, we are currently developing a digital infrastructure to write reference grammars of sign languages online. This infrastructure can be used by the local scientific communities in different countries to write a reference grammar of the respective sign language.

Searching for deaf participants: study on DGS by the University of Göttingen and the University of Köln
All information are summarized in the video below. If you are interested, please contact us by email:

Donna Jo Napoli: „Bilingual bimodal ebooks: Shared reading activities for deaf children and hearing adults“
Vortrag Donna JoOn Tuesday, 26th of June 2018, Donna Jo Napoli gave a talk on bilingual bimodal ebooks. The talk was part of our monthly sign meeting. Two interpreters translated the English talk into German Sign Language (DGS). Afterwards, we had a nice champagne reception. We would like to thank Donna Jo for her fascinating talk.

FEAST conference 2018 and SignHub Meeting in Venice
FEAST 2018From 18th till 20th of June 2018, the seventh meeting of the conference "Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign Language Theory" (FEAST) was held in Venice. The SignTeam Göttingen participated with various talks and posters. Immediately after the conference, the fourth official meeting of the EU-project "The Sign Hub: Preserving, Researching and Fostering the Linguistic, Historical and Cultural Heritage of European Deaf Signing Communities with an Integral Resource" (Horizon 2020) took place at the Università Ca'Foscari Venezia.

Workshop on the life stories of elderly deaf people
Helmut VogelThe student project "The life stories of the Deaf in the post-war period" organized a workshop at June 15, 2018, with talks by the historian and president of the Deaf association of Germany Helmut Vogel and the gerontologist Jürgen Wolf (University of Magdeburg-Stendal). The aim of the project is the organization of a traveling exhibition documenting the life of Deaf people in the post-war period in Germany. The two exciting presentations made important suggestions for the preparation of the exhibition.

Jana Hosemann wins second place in the Lift-Off launch competition
Jana Lift OffJana's innovative project SIGNfind got the second place in the Lift-Off launch competition at the University of Göttingen. The project aims at developing an online platform supporting Deaf people who are searching for sign language interpreters. The project will contribute to a barrier-free communication between hearing and Deaf people. We cordially congratulate the prize winner.

SignLab Göttingen at the 6th German Cultural Festival of the Deaf
kulturtageMore than 2500 national and international guests visited the 6th German Cultural Festival of the Deaf, which took place in Potsdam Babelsberg from May 17 till May 19. The SignTeam of Göttingen University was also present with a booth. At our booth, we informed the visitors about our research projects and our study programs, and we me met many old friends and got in contact with a lot of new friends. Especially our cultural studies project on the life stories of elderly deaf people attracted wide interest. We enjoyed three intense and exciting days with many interesting discussions.

We are looking for Deaf participants
Experiment LeipzigThe Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences is looking for Deaf native signers, who acquired German Sign Language (DGS) as their first language and are interested in participating in a neurolinguistic study. The study will be conducted in cooperation with the SignLab at Göttingen University and the Institut for German Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf at Hamburg University. More information here (only in German).

Post-Doc at Boston University
Anne BostonWorking in one oft he oldest cities in the United States? This is now the every day life of our former team member Anne Wienholz. Since April, she is working at the Language Acquisition and Visual Attention (LAVA) Lab at Boston University. There, she is planning to conduct studies comparing American and German Sign Language. But of course, there will always be time to explore this history-charged city and to get to know the ‚American way of life‘.

Demonstration for accessibility for people with disabilities
Aktionstag MenschOn May 8, 2018, the day of action supporting people with disabilities starts at 2.30 pm with a demonstration march from three different starting points in Göttingen (Neues Rathaus, Bahnhof, Audimax) to the Gänseliesel. The motto of this demonstration is "barrierefrei unterwegs", After the demonstration, there will be a rally at the old city hall. More information here (only in German).

Save the Date: Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 13
TISLRTogether with the Institute for German Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf (IDGS) at the University of Hamburg and the Department of Sign Language Interpretation and Deaf Studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the SignLab of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen organizes the international conference "Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research" (TISLR), the biggest conference on sign language linguistics worldwide. The conference will take place in September 2019 at the University of Hamburg. More information here.

Dr. Anne Wienholz: finished her PhD
Anne_VerteidigungCONGRATULATIONS! In March 2018, Anne submitted and defended her dissertation. The studies presented in her dissertation investigate the processing of referential expressions in German Sign Language (e.g., she, he, the grandma) by using the EEG and eye tracking method. The day of the defense sticked to all Göttingen traditions: after a trolley ride, the Gänseliesel statue was kissed. We all celebrate with her!

Nina-Kristin Pendzich gets the Wilhelm von Humboldt award for young researchers
Nina DGfSIn March 2018, the German Linguistic Society awarded Nina-Kristin Pendzich (University of Göttingen) the Wilhelm von Humboldt-Price for the best dissertation. Nina-Kristin Pendzich received the award for her work on "Lexical Nonmanuals in German Sign Language (DGS). An Empirical and Theoretical Investigation." Congratulations on this prestigious award!
More information here.

Workshop on Grammaticalization of Mood, Aspect, and Tense
GraModATOn monday, February 26, the GraModAT workshop (Grammaticalization of Mood, Aspect, and Tense) took place at the Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG). It was a day filled with exciting linguistic talks covering a multitude of languages — Vedic Sanskrit, Old Church Slavonic, and German Sign Language, to name but a few. We would like to thank all speakers, in particular the invited speakers Regine Eckardt (University of Konstanz) and Augustin Speyer (Saarland University), as well as the attending audience.

Students of the University of Göttingen prepare an exhibition about the life stories of Deaf people
FoLLIn the next semester, students of the University of Göttingen design together with the SignLab Göttingen an exhibition about the (in)visible life stories of elderly Deaf people. The project will be supported by the framework of research oriented teaching and learning ("Forschungsorientiertes Lehren und Lernen (FoLL)"). In the first part of the seminar, the students will analyze videos of elderly Deaf people from a linguistic, historical, and socio-cultural perspective. The videos are currently collected in two research projects. In the second part, the results of the evaluation will be made available to a broad Deaf and hearing audience in a public exhibition opening beginning of 2019.

PhD scholarship in General Linguistics/Sign Language Linguistics
The transdisciplinary "Lehmann-Haupt International Doctoral Programme” announces 12 scholarships for PhD students. One of the 12 PhD candidates is expected to work in the fields of general linguistics, sign language linguistics (Georgian Sign Language), and/or linguistic typology (Kartvelian Languages). More information here.

Talk in Hamburg: Results of eye tracking studies
Vortrag Hamburg Anne und DeryaOn 22. January 2018, our team members Anne Wienholz und Derya Nuhbalaoglu visited the Institute for German Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf at the University of Hamburg and presented the results of their eye tracking studies. There were a lot of interesting questions and a fruitful discussion. It was great to meet our participants and colleagues in Hamburg.

The SignLab Göttingen participates in a joined PhD program of Göttingen University and Ilia State University, Georgia
On the Göttingen side, nine different scientific disciplines are involved in the joint Lehmann-Haupt International Doctoral Program, planned together with the Ilia State University. Initially, twelve doctoral candidates from Georgia and the Caucasus will be sponsored in the program and equally supervised at both locations. The study of Georgian Sign Language will be one topic for a PhD thesis.

COST SignGram Blueprint has been published
COST BlueprintThis month, the "SignGram Blueprint. A Guide to Sign Language Grammar Writing" has been published by de Gruyter Mouton. The comprehensive guide to reference grammars of sign languages is freely obtainable in the internet. The SignGram Blueprint is an innovative 800-page tool for the grammar writer: a full-fledged guide that covers all components of the grammars of sign languages (phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax and meaning). In addition, it provides relevant background information (definitions, methodological caveats, representative examples, tests, pointers to elicitation materials and bibliographical references). The online-version of the SignGram Blueprint can be found here.

„Gebärdentreff“: Christmas party 2017
Weihnachtsfeier 2017Christmas spirit with mulled wine and tasty food: on the 5th of December the yearly Christmas party of our „Gebärdentreff“ took place. We spent a cozy, pre-Christmas evening with a lot of flying hands. We are already looking forward to the first sign meeting of the year 2018. After a short break, we hope to see you all in February. Of course, we are always happy about new acquaintances.

Lela Finkbeiner: „Neue Wege in der Patientensicherheit mit gebärdensprachlichen Patienten/innen: evidenzbasierte Kernkompetenzen mit Fallbeispielen aus der medizinischen Praxis“
Talk_LelaOn Tuesday, 14th of November 2017, Lela Finkbeiner gave a talk on the communication between deaf patients and hearing doctors. The talk was part of our monthly sign meeting and was hold in the rooms of the Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG). A lot of people came to attend Lela’s inspiring talk. Afterwards, we had a nice champagne reception.

A special exhibition on gestures in the past, present, and future will run from November 17, 2017, to March 4, 2018, at the Saxon Museum of Industry. More information here.

Nina-Kristin Pendzich receives award for the best dissertation in the humanities
GSGG awardOn Thursday, November 2, 2017, the „Christian-Gottlob-Heyne" prize for the best PhD dissertation in the humanities submitted in the last academic year will be awarded at the gala of the Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG). This year, the prize winner is the linguist Nina-Kristin Pendzich, who is awarded for her dissertation on the form and function of different nonmanual markers (such as facial expressions, head- and body movements) in sign languages. More information (only in German) here.

Documentary about the life stories of elderly Deaf people in German television
SignHubFilmIn September, the German television (BR) visited the Sign Lab Göttingen and made a movie about our life stories project. The movie is in DGS and German with German subtitles. You can watch the movie here.

SignTeam at the future fair for people with disabilities
ZukunftsmesseOn 23 September, the first future fair for people with disabilities took place in Göttingen. Among the 50 different exhibitors, the SignTeam was part of the fair. Jens-Michael Cramer taught DGS classes and at an information stand we presented our work. We came into an exchange with deaf people, but also with employers who wanted to inform themselves about the possibilities for the employment of disabled people.

SignTeam at documenta 14
documenta_14On 12th September, the Sign Team was at the documenta 14 and took a walk for deaf, hearing and hearing impaired. The walk was directed by Karin Müller Schmied. We discovered and discussed art together. On the photo we stand before the self-portrait of Lorenza Böttner - an already died artist. She painted the picture with her feet because she lost both arms as a child caused by an accident.

Presentations on Sign Language and Sign Language Interpretation in the Internet
Selected talks of the "V Congresso Nacional de Pesquisas em Tradução e Interpretação de Libras e Língua Portuguesa" are now available online. More information here.

Job ad: Research Assistant
The Department of German Philology at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen is inviting applications for the position of a research assistant (male/female) for sign language linguistics (50% TV-L 13), starting at the next possible date. More information here.

FEAST conference 2017 and SignHub Meeting in Reykjavik
FEAST_2017From 21st till 22nd of June 2017, the conference "Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign Language Theory" (FEAST) took place in Reykjavik. We presented our recent work in a talk and poster. It was an interesting and successful workshop and we also enjoyed the beautiful landscape of Iceland. In addition, the third official meeting of the project "The Sign Hub: Preserving, Researching and Fostering the Linguistic, Historical and Cultural Heritage of European Deaf Signing Communities with an Integral Resource" took place two days before the conference.

The Sign-Hub-Flyer is now online

Girls' Day at the SignTeam
Zukunftstag_2017On Thursday, April 27, 2017, two 15-years old high school students visited the sign language team to learn more about sign languages and our research. Not only did they learn general information about sign language linguistics in Göttingen, both also had the possibility to look into our research methods. In a trying out an experiment in the sign language lab, both were asked to imitated a cartoon with gestures, which our deaf team member Jens Cramer presented in DGS afterwards. The students reported later that "the comparison between the two videos showed us that pantomime and sign language are not the same". "At lunch, we also noticed what it means to communicate in DGS and German at the same time." After lunch we offered them a short DGS course, in which both learned first DGS signs and short sentences. All in all, it was an exciting day with many new experiences for the students as well as for our team.

Lecture tour in the south of Europe: Bulgaria
Vortragsreise_BulgarienIn the young EU member state Bulgaria and its Deaf community, there is great enthusiasm for learning more about sign language linguistics and interpretation. Therefore, the non-profit organization "Listen Up" and the Bulgarian association of the Deaf invited our deaf team member Liona Paulus to a lecture tour. The workshop, which took place in the capital Sofia, consisted of many talks, interesting discussions and a lively exchange. Another lecture was given in the city of Plovdiv, which is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. It was the first time that deaf interpreters translated DGS and International Sign into Bulgarian Sign Language (BZHE). The lecture tour was successful, but also exhausting. However, the hospitality and cordiality of the Bulgarian people and the delicious Bulgarian cuisine more than compensate for these efforts.

SignHub_LogoThe first newsletter of our project "The Sign Hub: Preserving, Researching and Fostering the Linguistic, Historical and Cultural Heritage of European Deaf Signing Communities with an Integral Resource" is now online.

Job ad: DGS lecturer
The Department of German Language and Literature at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen is inviting applications for the position of a Lecturer (male/female) for German Sign Language, salary group E13 TVL, to be taken on at Oktober 1, 2017. The position is for a regular working time of (currently) 39.8 hrs per week on a five-year contract. More information (only in German) here.

"Die kannten keine gehörlosen Flüchtlinge" - A portrait with Ibrahim Al Kadir (by Verena Pauer in collaboration with the SignLab)
Potrait_IbrahimEs ist Samstagnachmittag im Januar. Im Kulturwissenschaftlichen Zentrum der Universität Göttingen herrscht Hochbetrieb. Tische werden hin und her gerückt, Leinwände aufgebaut, Poster aufgehängt. Die Vorbereitungen für die 3. Göttinger Nacht des Wissens laufen auf Hochtouren. Auf einmal taucht ein junger Mann more (only in German).

Workshop "Anaphora Resolution in Sign and Spoken Languages - Theoretical and Experimental Dimensions" (ARISAS)
ARISAS_WorkshopIn an relaxed atmosphere the international workshop "Anaphora Resolution in Sign and Spoken Languages - Theoretical and Experimental Dimensions" (ARISAS) took place on 20th and 21st of February 2017. In the mansion of the gradute school of humanities Göttingen, a variety of talks was presented. The invited speakers Petra Schumacher (University of Cologne) and Emar Maier (University of Groningen) shed light on the topic of anaphora resolution from experimental as well as from theoretical perspective. We would like to thank all participants for the fruitful discussions and new ideas!

Dr. Nina-Kristin Pendzich finished her PhD!!!
Nina_DissCONGRATULATIONS! In August 2016, Nina submitted her dissertation and she successfully defended it in February 2017. Her dissertation deals with lexical nonmanuals and the interface with gestures and emotions. The theoretical classification of lexical nonmanuals is based on three comprehensive empirical studies on German Sign Language (DGS). The day of her defense was a huge success with a lot of fun. As we can see on the picture, Nina followed the Göttingen tradition to climb up the Gänseliesel fountain and kiss the Gänseliesel. We all celebrate with her!

SIGN-HUB and LABEX Summer School in Sign Language Linguistics
The SIGN-HUB Summer School 2017 addresses theoretical and experimental issues in sign language linguistics including research in the domains of the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of sign languages. More information here.

3. Nacht des Wissens in Göttingen
The SignTeam was part of the "3. Nacht des Wissens", which took place in Göttingen on Saturday the 21st of January. We presented information about sign language and our work and had many attractions. Every hour, we offered a beginner course in German Sign Language (DGS) and they were always full even till 11pm. Many interested people came by to test the colorful info wheel and the self-made hand biscuits and discussed with us various aspects of sign languages. Kids also had fun playing story-cubes and telling stories with gestures only and many parents were informed about topics such as inclusion, interpreting, and CIs. Now, some pupils want to take courses in the future and write about sign languages in school. It was a very successful night! Many pictures can be found on Facebook and an interview about our stand here.

Job ad: Head of laboratory
The Department of German Language and Literature at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen is inviting applications for the position of a Head of Laboratory (male/female) at the Sign Language Lab of Göttingen University salary group E13 TVL to be taken on at the earliest possible date. The laboratory is supervised by Prof. Dr. Markus Steinbach. The position is for a regular working time of (currently) 39.8 hrs per week on a long-term contract. More information here.

Workshop on Anaphora Resolution in Sign and Spoken Languages - Theoretical and Experimental Dimensions (ARISAS), February 20-21, 2017
This workshop combines theoretical approaches with typological and experimental ones in order to yield a better understanding of anaphoric relations across languages and language modalities. It aims at bringing together junior and senior researchers from different sub-fields of linguistics, gestural research and cognitive science working on anaphora resolution from various perspectives. See here for further information and the program.

SignTeam Workshop 2017
SignTeam_Workshop_2017On Monday, 9th of January 2017, the Sign Team organized an internal workshop, where all team members presented their work. All current and new projects were presented and discussed. Finally, we rounded off our successful workshop with a dinner together.

The Göttingen Sign Team wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Party 2016
Weihnachtsfeier Gebärdentreff 2016Once again, the yearly Christmas party of our "Gebärdentreff" took place on 6th of December with mulled wine, punch and degrees below zero. We spent a cozy evening in a large round of many flying hands, eating, drinking, and chatting along happily. We are looking forward to seeing a lot of new and familiar faces at the first Gebärdentreff of the new year on January 10th.

Congresso Nacional de Pesquisas em Linguistica de Linguas de Sinais
Brasilien_2016Over 800 deaf and hearing participants visited the Congresso Nacional de Pesquisas em Linguistica de Linguas de Sinais, which took place from November 28-30 at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Florianópolis, Brazil. The SignTeam Göttingen took part with two invited presentations, one workshop and a poster presentation. We were really impressed by the warm hospitality and the inspiring and inspirational scientific exchange during the conference - not to speak about the wonderful weather and the good food.

Dr. Annika Hübl finished her PhD!!!
Annika_VerteidigungCONGRATULATIONS! In October 2016, Annika successfully defended her dissertation. Her dissertation deals with different forms of reported speech in sign languages and particularly with the modality-specific phenomenon of role-shift. She analyzes indexicals (I, you, here, now) in quoted utterances and compares those 'hybrid' forms of reported speech with different quotative analyses suggested for spoken languages. The day of her defense was a huge success with a lot of fun. And as we can see, Annika followed the Göttingen tradition and kissed the Gänseliesl. We all celebrate with her!

International Sign and American Sign Language
IS_KursThe Sign Team Göttingen invited two deaf professionals to learn more about International Sign and American Sign Language (ASL). Our workshop took place September, 26-30 2016. In the first three days, Sujit Sahasrabudhe took us on a multilingual journey and showed us the use of International Sign and various communication strategies that help us to communicate with people using different sign languages.

ASL KursThe following two days, Pinky Gehrcke taught us American Sign Language (ASL) and we learned many ASL signs. At international conferences, ASL is used more and more as the scientific language of academia and therefore we now have to practice further to enable barrier-free communication in the future. Both courses were fantastic and we had a lot of fun.

FEAST conference 2016 and SignHub Meeting in Venice
FEAST_2016Many of the SignTeam went to the FEAST conference in Venice to present recent work in two talks and two posters. It was a wonderful and very successful workshop and the city was amazing as usual. Part of the group stayed for two more days to work in the SignHub Meetings of the European project Horizon 2020, where representatives of the participating countries from Italy, France, Spain, Island, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Germany fruitfully discussed future work.

New research project "(In)visible Life Stories"
The federal state of Lower Saxony is funding a new research project on the documentation of the life stories of elderly deaf people in the program PRO*Niedersachsen. The aim of this project is to systematically record, document, evaluate, protect, and analyze the comprehensive linguistic and cultural heritage of elderly deaf people in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. These life stories video-recorded in an endangered language offer an invaluable insight and provide a corpus for pursuing scientific investigations in social sciences, cultural studies, as well as in the fields of linguistics and history. Apart from long-term data storage, the project will make selected video data available to academia but also to the public. Signed stories will be published on a trilingual barrier-free internet platform including subtitles and feedbackoptions to give the public access to this extremely precious cultural heritage. In addition, the data will provide the basis for a touring exhibition that presents selected examples of these stories to the general society. More information here.

Sign Theatre Project "Mal wieder Grimm"
More information: sign theatre project in Göttingen

Conference "Gesture - Creativity - Multimodality" of the ISGS in Paris
ISGS_Paris The sign language team took part in the 7th conference of the ISGS (International Society for Gesture Studies). This event took place in Paris, July 18-22, 2016. There were interesting talks and posters on gesture and sign language studies as well as nice weather, good food and many flying hands. We spent a wonderful and exciting week there and return to Göttingen with a lot of new insights.

Handbook "Laut, Gebärde, Buchstabe" has been published
Hanbuch_Laut_GebaerdeThe new Handbook "Handbuch Laut, Gebärde, Buchstabe" (Handbook Sound, Sign, Letter) edited by Ulrike Domahs and Beatrice Primus has been published. The handbook pursues a completely new idea - in detailed review articles, experts from different fields describe various phonological categories from a modality-specific perspective. The SignTeam Göttingen has contributed four articles on the following topics: syllable, prosody, language change, and language processing in sign languages. More information here.

The Göttingen Sign Team goes canoeing
Kanu_2016(1)For this years staff outing, we went canoeing on the river Leine quite close to Göttingen. The river winds through a beautiful landscape with bushes and trees hanging over the water, which gave us a pretty djungle-like impression. The 20 km section went from Greene to Alfeld and let us feel our muscles even during the next day. But, the wonderful weather and our yummy picnic will be remembered much longer.

Annual meeting of the priority program in Tübingen
XPrag_Jahrestagung_16Our sign language team presented the first exciting results of a new ERP study on anaphora resolution and the interpretation of R-loci in DGS at the annual meeting of the priority program in Tübingen.

Symposium on "Translanguaging and repertoires across signed and spoken languages: Insights from linguistic ethnographies in (super)diverse contexts"
The symposium on "Translanguaging and repertoires across signed and spoken languages: Insights from linguistic ethnographies in (super)diverse contexts" organized by Annelies Kusters will take place in Göttingen, June 20-21 2016. It will be live-streamed. More information here.

The RTG 2070 "Understanding Social Relationships", the CRC "Text Structures" and Linguistics in Göttingen (LinG) jointly invite you to a talk by Irene Mittelberg on "Crossmodal meaning construction: Gestures as mediators between linguistic structure and pragmatics".
Date: Wednesday, May 11th at 14:30 at the RTG 2070 Colloquium.
Location: CRC Text structures, Nikolausberger Weg 23, Library 2nd floor.

Screening and Discussion of the film "Ishaare - Gestures and Signs in Mumbai"
Ishaare_FilmOn 3rd of May 2016 at 11:00-13:00, the documentray fim "Ishaare - Gestures and Signs in Mumbai" directed by Dr. Annelies Kusters will be presented and discussed in the library hall of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Herrmann-Föge-Weg 11).

Workshop "Sign language agreement revisited: new theoretical and experimental perspectives ", February 23-26, 2016, University of Konstanz
DGfS_KonstanzResearch in the last 30 years has shown that agreement in sign languages differs in interesting ways from agreement in spoken languages. It has been shown that agreement in sign language is subject to grammatical restrictions. At the same time, its gestural basis and typological uniformity have questioned the grammatical status of agreement in sign language. This workshop aims at expanding our understanding on agreement in sign languages in particular and natural languages in general through different typological, experimental, corpus-based, and theoretical approaches.

New Video about XPrag-project "SignRef"

New video on experimental pragmatics in sign language introducing the XPrag-project "SignRef" at Göttingen University. Subtitles are available in German and English. Please use video player settings to change it!

SignGes - a new Competence Center for Sign Language and Gesture opens at the RWTH University of Aachen
The opening event organized by the SignGes competence center of the RWTH University of Aachen addresses the two multimodal communication forms sign languages and gesture. The focus of the interdisciplinary lectures is on the impact of gestures and sings for cultural communication. New research projects investigating the relation between signs and gestures as well as their differences in use and structure will be presented.
Here you will find the lectures as videos.

The SignTeam in Melbourne!
TISLR_16The sign language team again took part in the TISLR conference (Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research), the biggest sign language conference worldwide. The event took place from January 4th - 7th 2016 in Melbourne/Australia. The long way downunder to the other side of the world was worth while. It was a wonderful start of the new year with exciting talks, interesting posters and a lot of nice meetings with wonderful people.

Signlab Göttingen supports this year's Children's Book Week in Göttingen
This year's motto of the Children's Book Week "Ich kann (auch) anders - Anderssein hat viele Gesichter" is not only reflected in the authors' books but also in the access to it. Children with different languages should benefit from it. Therefore some lectures will take place in sign language (with the author Lena Feuerstein), in simple language (with actresses and actors of the Young Theatre) or are held bilingual. More information: "Göttinger Kinder- und Jugendbuchwoche".

New EU project to document the linguistic and cultural heritage of Deaf communities in Europe
Together with partners from other European countries and Israel, the sign Lab Göttingen succeeded in raising 2,5 million euros funding for a collaborative EU project in the Horizon 2020 call "Reflective Society" (Research and Innovation Action). The focus of the project is on the documentation of the language and cultural heritage of Deaf people in Europe, a particular linguistic minority. In the next four years, the project partners will built several multilingual reference grammars available online, a digital atlas of linguistic structures of sign languages, online assessment instruments for sign languages and a digital archive of life narratives by elderly signers. More information: "Horizon 2020 - linguistic historical and cultural heritage of European Deaf signing communities".

Conference "Nonmanuals at the Gesture Sign Interface (NaGSI)"
NaGSI_GruppenbildOn 9th and 10th of October 2015 the international conference "Nonmanuals at the Gesture Sign Interface" (NaGSI), which was organized by Nina-Kristin Pendzich, Annika Herrmann and Markus Steinbach and co-funded by the Graduate School of Humanities (GSGG), took place in the rooms of the GSGG. There were eleven presentations and six posters by PhD students and postdocs as well as four presentations by the invited speakers Diane Brentari (Chicago), Rachel Mayberry (San Diego), Wendy Sandler (Haifa) and Okan Kubus (Hamburg). The presentations focused on the analysis of nonmanual markers in different sign languages from various perspectives. Topics were, among others, the formal and functional properties of grammatical and gestural nonmanual markers, the relevance of nonmanual markers in phonology, prosody, syntax and morphology and nonmanual markers in narration. The book prize for the best poster presentation was awarded to Joanna Filipczak, Trevor Johnston, Anna Kuder, Piotr Mostowski and Pawel Rutkowski. We would like to thank all of the participants for the successful conference NaGSI!

Documentary film "Ishaare - Gestures and Signs in Mumbai"
"Ishaare" has a double meaning: it means "gestures" in Hindi and Marathi, but it also means "signs", as such indicating that there cannot be made a strict distinction between them. However, whilst there seems to be overlap between gestures and sign language, they differ too, as the protagonists of the movie show and tell us. The film "Ishaare" documents how six deaf signers communicate with familiar and unfamiliar hearing shopkeepers, street vendors, customers, waiters, ticket conductors and fellow travellers in Mumbai. When enquiring, selling, bargaining and chitchatting, these deaf and hearing people use gestures and signs, and they also lipread, mouth, read and write in different spoken languages. In the film, they share how they experience these ways of communication.

Workshop on Sentence Types and Mood, October 12, 2015, University of Göttingen
This workshop aims to bring together linguists from Göttingen within their diverse research fields to discuss their work as it relates to Sentence Types and Mood in all its instantiations, both in spoken and sign languages, within a formal theoretic framework.

Workshop "Nonmanuals at the Gesture Sign Interface (NaGSI)", October 9-10, 2015, University of Göttingen
In the last 10-15 years, research on sign languages has shown an increasing interest in nonmanual articulators. Nonmanuals express a variety of important linguistic functions and they play a crucial role at all levels of the grammar of sign languages. In this workshop, we will bring together scholars interested in formal and functional properties of nonmanuals at the interface between gesture and language in spoken and sign languages.

The Sign Team at the Day of the Deaf in Göttingen
SignTeam_DeafDay On Saturday, 19th of September 2015, the sign language team was present at the day of the Deaf in Göttingen. After the presentations given by Oliver Böse from DGS corpus project in Hamburg and Helmut Vogel, the president of the German Deaf Federation (DGB), Annika Herrmann and Jana Hosemann gave a talk about our team in Göttingen. At an information stand, we presented our work, informed about our research and the new theater project (Theater im OP) and met a lot of old friends and new acquaintances. It was a completely successful and exciting day. Thanks to the great organization and to all participants of the Day of the Deaf in Lower Saxony.

Summer school and workshop on negation
A universal property of natural language is that every language is able to express negation. However, languages may differ to quite a large extent as to how they express this negation. Not only do languages vary with respect to the position of negative elements, the form of negative elements and the interpretation of sentences that consist of multiple negative elements are also subject to broad cross-linguistic variation. The study of the behaviour of sentential negation has therefore strongly been guided by the question as to what determines the possible ways that sentential negation can manifest itself. This question, however, has not only strong repercussions for the study to the syntax and semantics of negation and related phenomena, such as negative and positive polarity phenomena, but also for the investigation of the way how negation is expressed is acquired by children, how it changes over time, and how it is expressed on non-spoken languages.
More information

Day of the Deaf
Plakat_Deaf_Tag On 19th of September 2015 the Day of the Deaf will take place in Göttingen. The SignTeam will be represented with a talk and an information stand. Flyer Sign Language in Göttingen (SLG)

Current Trends in International Researches in Deaf Studies and Sign Language Linguistics
Workshop_BrazilThe Workshop on ''Current Trends in International Researches in Deaf Studies and Sign Language Linguistics'' took place in the new conference room of the GSGG, 13th of July 2015. Various exciting talks were presented with different topics such as the sign language acquisition outside of deaf schools, improving the use of websites for deaf users by visual elements, the different types of Deaf Spaces in our societies and the positioning of interrogative pronouns in DGS. An important issue was how the sign language community can benefit from recent research on Deaf Studies and sign languages. The speakers and guests came from Belgium, Brazil, Germany, India, Turkey and the United States. After the workshop, there was a champagne reception with interesting short reports and stories from the different deaf cultures. We would like to thank all of the participants for this successful multicultural and multilingual workshop.

The SignTeam visiting the Euro Deaf 2015 Soccer EM
Deaf_EMGermany against Russia in the quarter final. Unfortunatly Germany lost 2:1 !
We congratulate the European Champion Turkey!

Sign Language Team in Barcelona!
FEAST_2015Our sign language team was again represented at this year's conference FEAST in Barcelona (Formal and Experimental Approaches to Sign Language Theory). It was a successful and exciting workshop in great surroundings at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Following the conference, the Outreach Session of the European project COST Action IS1006 took place: "SignGram: Unraveling the grammars of European sign languages: pathways to full citizenship of deaf signers and to the protection of their linguistic heritage".

Master's thesis about interrogative sentences in sign languages: Thank you for participating!

Sina Jahnke and Elisabeth Volk have written their Master's thesis about interrogative sentences in sign languages and conducted an experimental study on German Sign Language. They would like to thank all of the people who participated in the experiment! Sina and Elisabeth recently finished their MA studies and since April, they are new members of the sign language team.

Dissemination videos of the COST-Action SignGram are now in 9 different sign languages online.

"Dr. Jana Hosemann finished her PhD!!!"
Jana_DissCONGRATULATIONS! In February 2015, Jana submitted her dissertation and successfully defended it in April. In her dissertation, she presents 4 different EEG-studies investigating the cognitive processing of German Sign Language sentences. Each study examined a different linguistic phenomenon: the range comprised phonological, morpho-syntactic, and semantic aspects of German Sign Language. The day of her defense was a huge success with a lot of fun. And as we can see on the picture, Jana also managed the Göttingen tradition to climb up the Gänseliesl. We all celebrate with her!

Prof. Susan Fischer in Göttingen: ''Sign Language Surprises: Why Typology Matters''
Susan_Fischer_TalkThis Wednesday, 22nd of April 2015, Prof. Susan Fischer (CUNY, New York) visited our team in Göttingen and gave a talk on the comparison of Western sign languages and Asian sign languages. She is one of the leading pioneers on sign language research and we were very honored to welcome her in Göttingen. A lot of people came to attend her inspiring bilingual presentation.

Workshop "Current trends in international researches in Deaf Studies and Sign Languages Linguistics", 13th July 2015, University of Göttingen
In the last 50 years, research on Sign Languages has been increasing steadily. Since around the millennium, studies on Sign Languages and Deaf Cultures (communities, values, networks, spaces) have become broader thereby also collaborating with neighboring scientific disciplines such as anthropology, cultural studies, neuroscience, computer sciences, and literature studies. A particularly interesting and important development in Sign Language Linguistic is the design of new experimental and elicitation methods, which lead to a more professional and sustainable empirical basis in this field. In addition, new developments in Deaf Studies broaden the perspective and focus on deaf ontologies and deaf epistemologies, deaf experiences and deaf spaces. This workshop brings together researchers from Sign Language Linguistics and Deaf Studies from Belgium, Brazil and Germany and discusses current research in the areas mentioned above.

Workshop on German Sign Language at a FSJ and BFD seminar
Workshop_NPOn Thursday, 22nd January 2015 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nina-Kristin Pendzich gave a workshop entitled ''Die Hände und das Gesicht sprechen lassen. Einblicke in die Deutsche Gebärdensprache (DGS) und ihre Kultur'' twice. The workshop took place as part of a FSJ and BFD seminar of the DRK-Landesverband Niedersachsen e.V. in Bad Pyrmont. The participants were very interested in the contents of the workshop and intrigued by the various DGS videos.

Feedback Tool
The feedback tool of the DGS-Corpus-Project in Hamburg is now online:

German-Israeli Project: First results of the questionnaire survey

The sign team in Göttingen and the sign language research group in Haifa (Israel) have a common project. They compare the German Sign Language (DGS) with the Israeli Sign Language (ISL), because these two are historically related. Before the start of the 2nd World War, several deaf people from Berlin moved to Jerusalem, where they have built together with Israeli Deaf the first school for the Deaf in Israel. Therefore, the two sign languages are closely intertwined. A few months ago, we conducted online a questionnaire study in Germany and Israel. Many deaf and hard of hearing people have participated - Thanks for the support!!! Now the first results are available. The project will run until the end of 2015 and we are very excited to see what we will find out in the future.

Fourth volume of our new series Sign Language and Deaf Communities (SLDC, De Gruyter Mouton - Ishara) published: Chiara Branchini (2014): On Relativization and Clefting. An Analysis of Italian Sign Language.

Semester abroad at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva, Israel
Israel_ReiseberichtDrawing syntactic trees among the palms, studying neuronal communication at the Dead Sea, Palestinian rap on Christmas day and hummus for breakfast - this is not how our student assistant Elisabeth Volk imagined her semester abroad. When the positive answer of a scholarship by Erasmus Mundus arrived in spring 2014, the expectations for the coming fall semester had been high and have been exceeded tremendously until now. Currently, she is spending her last month in this diverse and exciting country before it is time again to return to Göttingen.

AchterbahnTVLiona Paulus as an invited guest in the talk show 'Achterbahn TV - Der Kulturtalk für alle'
The moderators Axel S. (hearing) and Barbara R. (Deaf) invited our Deaf team member Liona Paulus as a talk show guest to their talk Show 'Achterbahn TV - Der Kulturtal für alle'. This was done in the context of inclusion of the RheinMainTV. In the show, sign language and spoken language was used and in addition, everything was subtitled. The show was recorded in Mainz-Gustavsburg on the 21st of October 2014 and was accompanied by a number of sign language interpreters. Further information and broadcasting dates (also via livestream/media center) can be found on the website

Dawei NiTalk on 'Chinese culture. An outline of the long culture in China' by Dawei Ni in Hildesheim on 05th of November 2014
On the 05th of November 2014, two members of our team, Nina Kristin Pendzich and Liona Paulus, went to Hildesheim along with Ni Dawei, who has previously visited our sign language team in Göttingen. In Hildesheim, Ni Dawei, who is a Deaf Austrian and was born in China, gave a very interesting talk about the culture, Deaf culture and the sign languages of China. About 35-40 people visited the Deaf center in Hildesheim and watched the three-hour lecture with great astonishment and amazement. Everybody was surprised by the many superlatives that China has to offer. Among other things, Dawei Ni reported that in China there are about 20 million Deaf, 5000 Deaf schools and five major universities with departments which are specifically dedicated to Deaf students. Also interesting is the logographic Chinese character for 'Deaf', which is, according to Chinese mythology, a combination of the symbol 'dragon' and 'ear' and is meant in a positive sense. After the presentation, Dawei Ni was asked many questions and some of the audience took the opportunity for a group photo together with the expert of the Chinese culture. Thanks to the presenter we have now received a great insight into this fascinating world. It was a very interesting and successful evening!

Symposium: The promises and perils of diversity and inclusion: deaf people in multiple contexts

New DGS modules
Starting with the winter semester 2014/15, we offer three new practical language modules in the BA program German Language and Literature and the MA program Linguistics. The modules, which consist of a sign language class (DGS 1-3) and either lecture or a practical course in the sign lab, provide basic knowledge of DGS. The students do not only acquire basic skills for sign language research but also competence in the intercultural communication with linguistic minorities.

New certified FACS-Encoder in our SignTeam
FACS_Nina Congratulations: Nina-Kristin Pendzich has excellently passed the exam to be a certified FACS-Coder. She will support our research on nonmanual markings in sign languages with her expertise in facial expressions (cf. Ekman, Friesen and Hager 2002).

The SignTeam at the Venice FEAST Colloquium
FEAST From 09th till 11th of June 2014, the conference "Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign Language Theory" (FEAST-Colloquium) was held in Venice. Our team is growing and many of us enjoyed being there: some of us were already at the summerschool from the COST SignGram Action on the wonderful island San Servolo. In addition, following the conference, the official COST Meeting of the SignGram Action took place: "Unraveling the grammars of European sign languages: pathways to full citizenship of deaf signers and to the protection of their linguistic heritage".

Talk in the Auditorium at Wilhelmplatz
VortragOn Monday, 2nd June 2014 at 6 p.m. Markus Steinbach and Annika Herrmann gave a talk entitled "Wenn die Spannung mit den Händen zu greifen ist. Geschichten in Gebärdensprachen". The talk took place as part of the lecture series "Ringvorlesung" of the University of Göttingen in the auditorium at Wilhelmsplatz and was held in German and German Sign Language. We are pleased that so many hearing and deaf people have found their way into the auditorium despite the short-term schedule change. The following sign meeting was as always a great success.

New experimental research project on Anaphora Resolution in Sign Language
This project investigates a characteristic of sign languages which is directly linked to the modality-specific realization of morphosyntactic, semantic, and pragmatic categories in the three-dimensional signing space: Sign languages actively use the geometrical properties of the signing space to establish discourse referents and disambiguate anaphoric relationships in a way which is alien to oral-auditory languages. The objective of the project is a theory of the linguistic structure and cognitive processing of anaphoric relations and discourse referents in sign language that is based on empirical and experimental data. On the one hand, this will contribute to the understanding of an under-studied language in the visual-gestural modality. On the other hand, it will also broaden our knowledge of the human language faculty in general and will provide new insights into the influence of modality on linguistic structure.

Bengt Förster in Göttingen
Bengt Förster GöttingenIn January, Bengt Förster visited the sign team in Göttingen and many visitors came to see his talk in German Sign Language on "Forms of (multiple) perspectives in character utterances of German Sign Language". The interpreters were Undine Schäfer and Katarina Klante.

Second volume of our new series Sign Language and Deaf Communities (SLDC, De Gruyter Mouton - Ishara) published: Annika Herrmann (2013): Modal and Focus Particles in Sign Languages. A Cross-linguistic Study.

EU-Cost-Meeting in historical building. On the trail of Abbé de l'Epée
Abbé de l’Epée At the European project meeting of CostAction IS 1006 in Paris at the beginning of December 2013, we had the pleasure of working in the building and in the rooms of the so-called 'father' of French Sign Language, Abbé de l'Epée (1712-1789). On a guided tour, we visited the old library of this famous deaf school. Paintings, sculptures, and many stories gave an insight to the life and work of l'Epée, Sicard, Clerc, Bebián, Berthier, and other historical characters. A truly impressive journey!

Workshop "Priming across Modalities" November 28, 2013, Universität of Göttingen

Movie "Lautlose Flucht" in Frankfurt am Main.
Filmpremiere Saturday, 2nd of November 2013, the premiere of the movie "Lautlose Flucht" took place at the cinema Metropolis in Frankfurt am Main. There was a reception preceding the movie and afterwards the director Reiner Mertz thanked the audience and the people that contributed to the movie over the past three years. Our sign team participated in this event and proudly supports the initiative.
More information can be found here:

First talk in the new colloquium series "Linguistics in Göttingen" (October 23, 2013, 4 pm, CRC Text Structures):
Roland Pfau (Amsterdam): The head shakes in patterns: A negative concord perspective on sign language negation

ERP study on transition phase in sign language published in Neuropsychologia

"Language Development: Evolution, Change, Aquisition", August 12-30, 2013, Humboldt-University Berlin

"How to talk with your hands", Presentation and reception, 2. July 2013, 18.15, Medienraum of the German Department

New Sign Language Classes: Sign Language in Göttingen is growing! Beginning this summer semester 2013, there will be two more sign languages classes financed by tuition fees. In addition to the regular DGS1 and DGS2 courses, we offer another DGS1 course and an advanced communication course. Students of German Philology may register as usual via StudIP.

Workshop on "Linguistic Foundations of Narration in Spoken and Sign Languages", 35th Annual Meeting of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS), March 13-15, 2013, University of Potsdam

Happy New Year from the Sign Team

New HSK volume on Sign Language
The handbook "Sign Language" aims to provide a concise and comprehensive overview of the state of the art in sign language linguistics. It includes 44 chapters, written by leading researchers in the field, that address issues in language typology, sign language grammar, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, sociolinguistics, and language documentation and transcription. Crucially, all topics are presented in a way that makes them accessible to linguists who are not familiar with sign language linguistics.

Fall School "Shifting Perspectives - Non-canonical Forms of Reported Discourse in Spoken and Sign Languages", University of Göttingen

Sign Language Summer School, University of Hamburg

SignGram Training School, University of Hamburg

Formal and Experimental Advances in Sign Language Theory (FEAST) 2012, University of Warsaw

Monthly Sign Language Meeting

Sign language chorus at the Deutsche Theeater (German Theater): A sign language chorus consisting of hearing and deaf signers will be part of a joint production of the Deutsche Theater in Göttingen and the sign language group of the German Department. Premiere: 14th of April, 2012. More (in German)

Annika Herrmann gets the Wilhelm von Humboldt award for young researchers
Humboldt Award In March 2012, the German Linguistic Society awards Diana Forker (Universität Bamberg) und Annika Herrmann (Universität Göttingen) the Wilhelm von Humboldt-Price for the best dissertation. Annika Herrmann receives the award for her work "Modal Particles and Focus Particles in Sign Languages. A Cross-Linguistic Study of DGS, NGT and ISL." Both researchers will be given 2000,- for their dissertations.

25th anniversary of the Institut für Deutsche Gebärdensprache und Kommunikation Gehörloser at the University of Hamburg

Sign Language Workshop, Annual Meeting of the German Linguistic Society 2012
AG 13 "Experimental Studies in Sign Language Research"
March 7, 2012, 1pm - 7pm

Call for Papers
Program AG 13

"Language as a Complex System", Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main

Please see the following link of the local organizers for registration, accommodation and further information:
34th DGfS Meeting, March 6 - 9, 2012

German Linguistic Society (DGfS)

COST Action: Workshop in Göttingen
October 15 - 16, 2011
COST Action Project

Lichtenberg-Kolleg Symposion "Complex Sentences and Beyond in Sign and Spoken Languages" , October 13 - 14, 2011
Startseite Sternwarte Lichtenbergkolleg

New Sign Language Series

De Gruyter Mouton and Ishara Press present two new Sign Language Series:

Sign Languages and Deaf Communities (SLDC)
Series editors: Annika Herrmann, Markus Steinbach and Ulrike Zeshan

Sign Language Typology Series (SLTS)
Series editors: Marie Coppola, Onno Crasborn and Ulrike Zeshan

Guidelines for submitting a book proposal

24. February 201: Opening of the Sign Language Lab
Gebärdensprachlabor 4