DGfS 2013 AG "Linguistic Foundations of Narration in Spoken and Sign Languages"

Linguistic Foundations of Narration in Spoken and Sign Languages

Workshop Section at the 35th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS)

Organizers: Annika Hübl and Markus Steinbach

March 13th-15th, 2013, Potsdam, Germany

For a considerable time, linguists have not only investigated sentences as largest relevant unit of language, but have begun to analyze the structure of whole texts. Recently, these efforts have produced powerful frameworks, such as (S)DRT, Centering Theory, Accessibility Theory and studies concerning the QUD/Quaestio to name but a few. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of studies that apply these frameworks to fictional narrative texts. Even so, there are a number of elaborated studies within theoretical linguistics that deal with typical narrative phenomena (see, for instance, the discussion on free indirect discourse in the works of Schlenker 2004, Eckardt 2011, and Maier 2012 among others). More­over, there are more and more experimental studies investigating text phenomena in general and literary texts in particular (see e.g. Bortolussi/Dixon 2003, Burkhardt 2006). Another important aspect in this field is the fact that narrative structures in sign languages are increasingly investigated on a formally high level. E.g. work on role shift and constructed action – which are the strategies of presenting some­body’s speech, thought and action in sign languages – has yielded interesting parallels with free indirect discourse and mixed quotation in spoken languages (see Quer 2005, 2011 and Herrmann/Steinbach 2012 among others). Hence, linguistics can contribute to the study of narratives in at least four ways:

  • in drawing on well-elaborated formal frameworks to analyze literary texts and determine partly vague intuitions about narratological concepts.
  • in applying empirical and experimental methods to narratives in order to establish a valid empirical basis that can be used to verify or falsify theoretical assumptions.
  • in investigating narratives from a typological broader perspective including strategies and structures used in different (non-western) languages.
  • in analyzing texts from a cross-modal perspective and relating sign language data to theoretical and empirical findings in spoken languages.

  • In this workshop, we will bring together scholars interested in the linguistic structures underlying narratives in spoken and sign languages. For this, the workshop is attractive to theoretical linguists and psycholinguists, as well als for typologists and sign language linguists. Particularly welcome are empirical, theoretical, and experimental contributions to speech and thought representation, focalization, information structure, suspense and text time as well as work on role shift and constructed action.

    Invited speakers

    • Christiane von Stutterheim (University of Heidelberg)
    • Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris/New York University)

    Important dates

    • 1 September 2012: Deadline of Abstract Submission
    • 15 September 2012: Notification of Acceptance
    • 15 December 2012: Provisional Program
    • 13-15 March 2013: 35th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) in Potsdam