News till 2016

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