Call for Papers

Workshop: Nonmanuals at the Gesture Sign Interface (NaGSI)
Location: Göttingen University
Date: October 9-10, 2015

Linguistic fields: Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, Prosody, Information Structure, Discourse Analysis, Typology, Sign Language, Gesture, Psycholinguistics, Grammaticalization

Invited speakers:
Diane Brentari (Chicago, USA)
Okan Kubus (Hamburg, Germany)
Rachel Mayberry (San Diego, USA)
Wendy Sandler (Haifa, Israel)

Meeting description:
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: sign languages use lexical facial expressions, various kinds of morphosyntactic nonmanual markers as well as nonmanuals expressing prosodic and semantic-pragmatic functions. Linguistic nonmanual markers typically develop from nonmanual gestures used in hearing and deaf communities. The visual-manual modality of sign languages offers the unique possibility of integrating and grammaticalizing nonmanual and manual gestures since gestures use the same articulatory channel that is also active in the production of signs. By contrast, nonmanuals in spoken languages can only be used as gestures.

We welcome submissions addressing formal and functional properties of nonmanuals at the interface between gesture and language in spoken and sign languages from different perspectives such as phonology, morphosyntax, semantics, pragmatics, prosody and information structure, typology and variation, historical development and grammaticalization, processing, and language acquisition. The topics may include but are not restricted to

  • Formal and functional properties of grammatical and gestural nonmanuals
  • Relevance of nonmanuals in phonology, prosody, morphosyntax, semantics, and pragmatics
  • Nonmanuals in discourse and narration
  • Similarities and differences between grammatical and gestural nonmanuals
  • Theoretical modeling of nonmanuals at the interfaces between grammar and pragmatics
  • Evolution, development, and typology of nonmanuals
  • Comprehension and production of nonmanuals
  • Acquisition of grammatical and gestural nonmanuals in spoken and sign languages

The languages of the workshop are English and ASL. Interpretation between English and ASL will be provided.

Abstract submission:
We invite abstracts for 35-minute presentations (plus 10 minutes for discussion). Abstracts should be anonymous and not exceed two pages, including examples and references. Please send your abstracts electronically in pdf- or doc-format to

and include your name, affiliation and the title of the abstract in the body of the e-mail.

Deadline for abstract submission: May 1, 2015
Notification: End of May 2015

Workshop organizers:
Nina-Kristin Pendzich
Annika Herrmann
Markus Steinbach
Göttingen University

Nina-Kristin Pendzich: