News 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Party 2018
Weihnachtsfeier_2018Our annual Christmas party of the “Gebärdentreff” took place on 4th of December. We met at Bar Celona and spent a cozy evening with delicious food and interesting discussions. We were happy to meet many of you there and are looking forward to the next Gebärdentreff which will take place after a short break on 5th of February 2019.

Inclusion: best practice example from Brazil
Liona Paulus gave an interview about her experiences with inclusion in Brazil. You can read the interview here.

Sign language at the Kinder-Uni
Dorothee Nyga and Jens-Michael Cramer explained how to communicate with signs to the boys and girls who participated in a seminar on German Sign Language at the Kinder-Uni. How it was and which signs they have learned, you can read here (only in German).

TISLR 13: Second call for Papers
Organized by the Sign Language Linguistics Society (, TISLR is held every three years and aims to familiarize the community with the latest advances in sign language research. Various domains are covered including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and neurolinguistics. We welcome diverse theoretical perspectives and research that represents a wide variety of sign languages used all around the globe. More information and call for papers here.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in German and German Sign Language

Ebenezer Scrooge is stingy and embittered. Even at Christmas, he does not open his heart to the people. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is surprised by three Christmas ghosts. They show him how he has changed over the years, why he has become so grim and what the future will bring. Now Scrooge has to decide: Does he continue living as usual, or can he give his life a new meaning?

In this bilingual production, the entire family can look forward to the classic Christmas story of Charles Dickens, which is presented by the ThOP in Göttingen and will be shown in December. German and German Sign Language will be presentd side by side and offer a contemplative experience for deaf and hearing people.
The trailer can be watched here:

Dates: 01.12.2018 (20.15 Uhr), 03.12. (20.15 Uhr), 05.12. (20.15 Uhr), 07.12. (20.15 Uhr), 08.12. (20.15 Uhr), 09.12. (16.00 Uhr), 12.12.2018 (20.15 Uhr), 14.12. (20.15 Uhr), 15.12. (20.15 Uhr), 16.12. (16.00 Uhr), 18.12. (20.15 Uhr), 19.12. (20.15 Uhr)

Place: Theater im OP, Göttingen (Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3, 37073 Göttingen)

Presentation of the results of our FoLL project "Life stories of elderly deaf people"
FoLL_Präsentation_2018In November 2018, our student group presented the results of their project on life stories of elderly deaf people at the public closing event of all FoLL projects conducted in the last spring semester in the Adam-von-Trott-Saal of the conference center "Alte Mensa". All projects, which were presented in the first part of the event, were intensively discussed at a reception in the second part. Unlike the other projects, our FoLL project is, however, not finished yet. The next milestone of the project is the opening of the exhibition on January 15, 2019 in KWZ. More information here (only in German).

Student excursion to Hamburg and Osnabrück
Besuch_IDGS_Nov18 Besuch_Osnabrück_Nov18
Within the framework of research oriented teaching and learning ("Forschungsorientiertes Lehren und Lernen (FoLL)"), students of the Georg-August-University Göttingen set out on Friday morning for an excursion to the Institute for German Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf (IDGS) in Hamburg and the counseling center for hearing-impaired people in Osnabrück. The aim of this excursion was to visit the archives and libraries with the aim of finding suitable documents and objects for the exhibition "Life Stories of Elderly Deaf People in Germany". The public exhibition will be opened in January 2019 at the Center for Cultural Studies of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (KWZ).

SignTeam is visiting the 3rd ProSIGN conference in Belgrade
ProSign_2018Quiz question: Which phonological parameter causes the most errors in L2 learners in a sign language class for beginners? This answer has been answered in an interesting presentation by Luigi Lerose (UCLAN) at the 3rd ProSIGN conference in the auditory of the University of Belgrade: In the beginning, L2 learners struggle with handshapes and movements. This is in accord with our experience as sign language teachers.

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.