News 2021

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with the new DGS calendar 2022

Sina Proske finished her PhD
defense_sinaCONGRATULATIONS SINA. Just in time for the end of this year, Sina has successfully defended her PhD thesis. In her dissertation, she investigated the ordering of the verb and its arguments in DGS and conducted a comprehensive empirical study in the form of a sentence reproduction task. The dissertation is the first representative empirical study on the influence of verb type on word order in a sign language. The defense, which took place online, was a great success. However, the trolley ride through the city and the famous kiss of the Gänseliesel unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the current restrictions. Nevertheless, we are all happy with her and will soon make up for the missing celebration next year!

Presentation by Michael Morgan
presentation_morgan On Wednesday, December 1, at 4 pm, Michael Morgan gave a presentation on the origins of Nepali Sign Language in our "Gebärdentreff", which still can only take place online at the moment. The title of the presentation was "Do Sign Languages Grow on trees? ... Critiquing Sign Language 'Families'". Mike discussed different methods of reconstructing sign language families and presented new data that provide evidence that Nepali Sign Language has been influenced by many different (and unrelated) sign languages. His presentation was interpreted from English into DGS. 50 participants were virtually present (the painting on the picture is from the deaf Nepali artist Pratigya Shakya).

46 project proposals for the new DFG priority program „Visual Communication (ViCom)“
vicom_logoAfter the deadline for proposal submission on November 3th, we received 46 submissions (the submission for the coordination project not included) from different fields, thus reflecting the broad interdisciplinary scope of ViCom. That's an impressive number for the first phase of ViCom and we would like to thank all of you for the time and effort you spent on the conception and completion of your proposals. More information about ViCom here.

Aline Meili successfully defended her PhD thesis
Aline PhDAline successfully defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich in October. In her broad empirical study, she investigated the bilingual bimodal acquisition of written German and German-Swiss Sign Language (DSGS) with native signers of DSGS. The focus of the empirical study was on grammatical aspects and text competence. The study does not only give important new insights into bimodal language acquisition, it also makes an important contribution to improving the school situation of deaf children at schools for the deaf in Switzerland. Afterwards, we were able to bring out a toast on this great and well-deserved success with the lucky candidate on the roof terrace of the German Department of the University of Zurich with beautiful weather and a wonderful view of the white mountains. Congratulations from the SignLab Göttingen!

"Göttinger Literaturherbst" with four events which are also available online in DGS
At the annual literary festival "Göttingen Literaturherbst", the following four events will be accompanied by sign language interpreters (German-DGS):
- "Rupert undercover" Klaus-Peter Wolf: October 20, 7 pm
- "Der Zorn des Oktopus" Dirk Roßmann: October 30th, 7 pm
- "Die Wahrheit der Dinge" Markus Thiele: November 1st, 7 pm
- "Wie kann ich was bewegen?" Raúl Krauthausen, Benjamin Schwarz, Aminata Touré: November 5th, 7pm
More information can be found here. A video in DGS is available hier.

Paper on reference in Providence Island Sign Language published in Glossa
Glossa_2021Our PhD student Rehana Omardeen has published the first study of her PhD on communicative interaction in Providence Island Sign Language. The article, published together with her supervisors Kate Mesh and Markus Steinbach in the linguistic journal Glossa, investigates the strategies used by signers of the Providence Island Sign Language to refer to people who are not present in the conversational setting. The focus of the detailed empirical study is, among other things, on the use of shared background knowledge when introducing new discourse speakers. The article is freely available hier. Have fun while reading!

Many greetings to the International Day of Sign Language: September 23, 2021

Accessible instruction videos "Learning to read data"
Grafik_Barrierefreie_Lehrvideos_final_NPThe lecture series "Learning to read data" offered at the University of Göttingen provides interdisciplinary basic data skills. The accessible instruction videos aim at giving all students the opportunity to acquire core competencies in data literacy, regardless of their area of study, prior knowledge and requirements. Content & design: Alexander Silbersdorff, Jennifer Lorenz, Benjamin Säfken & Sina Ike. Accessibility & design: Nina-Kristin Pendzich, Katrin Lux, Thomas Finkbeiner, Susanne Martini & yomma GmbH. More information can be found here.

Understanding social relations - RTG conference: Call for papers
We are very excited to announce our keynote speakers for the RTG conference! All four of them are innovative and exciting researchers who will give excellent talks and between them cover all aspects of the RTG. All speakers will be taking part in a round table style discussion where participants can ask them more general questions about their research or career. Our keynote speakers are: Mark Dingemanse, Sam Ellis, Michael Goldstein, and Sofie Valke. Please submit your abstracts for the conference by September 17, 2021 here.

DGS calendar nominated for the calendar award of the German book trade
kalender_2022The new language calendar for German Sign Language has been nominated for the calendar award of the German book trade in the category "best utility value". The new 2022 calendar is the third language calendar for German Sign Language jointly published by Thomas Finkbeiner and Nina-Kristin Pendzich. The winners of the prizes will be announced on October 22, 2021 at 5 pm at the Frankfurt Book Fair. We keep our fingers crossed for Thomas and Nina.

RTG 2636 'Form-meaning mismatches': Opening event

On September 14, the Research Training Group 'Form-meaning mismatches' will host its inaugural event with an exclusive lecture by Noam Chomsky. The talk will be preceded by an address from the Vice President of Research of the University of Goettingen (Bernhard Brümmer), and an introduction of the program's aims and approaches by the Speaker of the RTG (Hedde Zeijlstra). Three graduate students of the training group (Lieke Hendriks, Judith Kalinowski and Gautam Ottur) in turn, set forth some of their goals for the coming three years. More information can be found here.

6th Göttingen Summer School in Linguistics on 'Anaphora and Presuppositions'
The fall school brings together research on two broad empirical phenomena: anaphora and presuppositions. At one point, these phenomena were seen to be subject to similar constraints and therefore necessitate parallel accounts, in particular in the literature on DRT/dynamic semantics. This view has lost some of its appeal over the years due to the observation that certain fundamental assumptions found in the literature are not fully explanatory. Because of these diverging paths in accounting for the properties of the two kinds of phenomena, the mentioned parallelisms between them have not been satisfyingly treated. Recently, the debate how closely anaphora and presuppositions are related has therefore resurfaced. More information can be found here.

A small portion of DGS every day: the new DGS calendar is available!

Thomas Finkbeiner and Nina-Kristin Pendzich have again created a new DGS calendar for the year 2022. The sheets of the calendar offer a varied mix of vocabulary, grammar, conversational situation, culture and Did you already know ... ?. Numerous photos of signs with 16 deaf people were integrated in the calendar. In addition, the deaf illustrator Jana Haring prepared several drawings.

Presentation on Indian Sign Language
Neha_2On Tuesday, July 6th, 2021, Our doctoral student Neha Kulshreshtha gave a lecture on the history of Indian Sign Language and the Indian Sign Language community in our "Gebärdentreff", which unfortunately can only take place online at the moment. After the exciting lecture, there was time to ask questions and to exchange experiences. The lecture, which was held in English, was translated into DGS by two sign language interpreters. We thank Neha for this informative and exciting lecture.

Presentation at the "Gebärdentreff"

Next Tuesday, July 6, 2021, Neha Kulshreshtha will give a presentation on Indian Sign Language at our "Gebärdentreff": "Socio-historical background of Deaf community in India and emergence of Indian Sign Language”. The presentation will focus on the Deaf community in India, recognition of deafness and sign language in India, schools for the Deaf in India and the emergence of Indian Sign Language. In addition, Neha will also give insights in her linguistic research. The presentation is in English and will interpreted into DGS.

Presentation by Marloes Oomen
Marloes_Website On Wednesday, June 16, at 4 pm, Marloes Oomen from the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris gave a presentation on "Neg-raising in three sign languages" in our linguistic colloquium. Marloes presented exciting new data on neg-raising in three different sign languages. Her presentation was interpreted into DGS. Almost 50 participants from Germany and abroad were virtually present.

Workshop on visual communication
Together with colleagues from the University of Göttingen and the University of Frankfurt/Main, the Sign-Team Göttingen organizes a workshop on "Visual Communication. New Theoretical and Empirical Developments" at the next annual meeting of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS). More information and the call for papers can be found here.

Public lecture by Dr. Octavian Robinson (Gallaudet University)
vortrag_netzwerkOn June 18, Dr. Octavian Robinson from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, will give a public lecture from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The topic of this lecture is "The personal is historical: Creating narratives through reciprocal processes". The public lecture is part of the second workshop of the scientific network ’Deaf history in German-speaking countries’ funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The lecture will be held in ASL and translated into spoken English, DGS and ÖGS. You can register for the lecture on this website, where you can also indicate your language preferences. More information here

Priority Programme "Visual Communication" - call for proposals
The call for proposals for the Priority Programme (SPP 2392) "Visual Communication (ViCom)" has been published on May 20, 2021 and is available here. The deadline for submitting project proposals is November 3, 2021.

German Sign Language recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO
On March 19, 2021, the German UNESCO Commission and the Conference of Ministers of Education announced in a joint press release that German Sign Language (DGS) had been included in the nationwide directory of intangible cultural heritage following a proposal of the Association of the Deaf in Hamburg. This is an important day for the sign language community in Germany, which has been fighting for decades for DGS to be recognized as an independent language. More information hier (in German only).

Jana Haring designs pictures for SignLab Göttingen
Jana HaringIn sign language linguistics, pictures play an important role in research and teaching. Pictures are not only used to illustrate signs, but also to elicit sign language data​ in research on grammatical structures ​and sign language-specific visual narrative structures. For this reason, the SignLab Göttingen asked the Deaf illustrator Jana Haring to produce a series of drawings that can be used in teaching as well as in research studies conducted in the SignLab. In addition, Jana has produced a series of specific pictures which are used for our website. Further information about Jana Haring is available here (in German only).

DGS Signs for technical terms in natural sciences for smartphones, tablets and PCs
sign2mint_logoWith "Sign2MINT", the Max Planck Institute Halle has published a lexicon with DGS signs of technical terms used in the fields of mathematics, physics, geosciences, chemistry, biology and medicine. The database contains 1,101 signs as short videos. In the next year, the lexicon will be supplemented with additional signs. This specific DGS lexicon for natural sciences expands the opportunities for deaf people to participate in school, technical training, studies and work. More information here (in German only).

New DFG priority program „Visual Communication (ViCom)“
vicom_logoCornelia Ebert (University of Frankfurt am Main) and Markus Steinbach (University of Göttingen) successfully applied for a new linguistic priority program investigating specific properties of the visual modality as a communication channel and its interaction with other communication channels. The starting point of the program are co-speech gestures and sign languages ​​as prime examples of visual human communication. The orientation of the new priority program is strongly interdisciplinary: It brings together formal linguistics with other disciplines and research traditions such as cognitive linguistics, semiotics, psychology, computational linguistics, animal communication as well as neurosciences and cultural studies. More information here.

New DGS glossary for academic expressions
At the University of Hamburg, a new glossary for students and prospective students has been created. In the glossary, all expressions important for everyday academic life are transparently explained in German Sign Language (DGS) and in written German. The glossary was developed by the representatives for the needs of students with disabilities at the University of Hamburg and the HAW Hamburg as well as the Studierendenwerk Hamburg (AG Glossary). More information here (in DGS and German).

Call for applications: 6th Göttingen Fall School in Linguistic
Sine several years, Göttingen Linguistics has successfully organized a number of summer and fall schools on different current topics in linguistic research. This year's fall school focuses on two central phenomena at the interface between semantics and pragmatics: anaphors and presuppositions in language and gesture. The fall school takes up current debates in linguistics and investigates the question of how similar these two phenomena are and whether these similarities justify a uniform analysis. The four courses are taught by renowned researchers from Germany and abroad. In addition to an extensive social program, a two-day international workshop on the same topic will take place at the end of the summer school. This workshop gives the participants of the fall school the opportunity to present their own research to an academic audience. More information here.

New handbook on sign language linguistics
routledgeA new handbook on empirical and theoretical sign language research has been published by Routledge. The 29 chapters of this handbook discuss recent analyzes of central linguistic phenomena such as prosody, agreement, relative clauses or role shift in the context of different linguistic theories and combine these analyzes with current results of selected experimental studies of these phenomena. The handbook published by Josep Quer, Roland Pfau and Annika Herrmann in 2021 is another milestone in the linguistic research of sign languages.

New article on the SignLab in the "Campuspost"
In scientific presentations or small talk: the hands, the upper part of the body and the face constitute the main articulators of the natural native languages of deaf people, the sign languages. About 80,000 deaf people live in Germany. At the Department of German Philology of the University of Göttingen, sign languages ​​are a main focus of linguistic research ... read more (in German).

New multimedia and multimodal learning platform for introductory courses in German Sign Language (DGS)
The German Department has been offering language-practical courses for the acquisition of German Sign Language (DGS) as a foreign language very successfully for years. In these introductory courses, practical language skills as well as basic knowledge of the grammar of DGS and the culture and history of deaf people in Germany are imparted. Therefore, in addition to written information, pictures and videos are essential both for a lexicon containing the basic vocabulary and for practical exercises. A team of deaf and hearing lecturers and students has now developed an interactive e-learning module for the DGS-1 courses, supported by the MWK funding program “Innovative Lehr- und Lernkonzepte: Innovation plus”. The e-learning module consists of four modules: lexicon, exercises, grammar and glossary. The new platform provides the students online with all materials relevant for this course matching the learning objectives of this introduction. During the development and implementation of the learning platform, the technical possibilities available in ILIAS were optimally used (for example flash cards with videos, interactive videos). A total of over 3,000 videos were produced and integrated in the individual learning modules. More information can be found here

12 PhD positions announced in the new Research Training Group "Form-meaning Mismatches"

More information can be found here

Presentation by Kate Davidson
kate On Wednesday, January 27, at 4 pm, Kate Davidson from Harvard University gave a presentation on "Context selection and alternatives in spatial grammar" in our linguistic colloquium. Kate presented exciting new ideas about the semantics and pragmatics of space in sign languages. Her presentation was interpreted into DGS. Almost 70 participants were virtually present!

Job advertisement
The linguistics sections of the Department of English and the Department of German at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen are looking to fill the position of a Research Assistant (PhD position) with 65% of the regular working hours and a limited contract of 3 years. This position should be filled by July 1, 2021. More information can be found here.