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Out today: “The semiotic diversity of doing reference in a deaf signed language” bit.ly/2Ed8YUL Lindsay Ferrara @NTNU, @bananabull @hvl_no and I looked at the different strategies signers use to introduce, maintain or reintroduce humans, animals and inanimate referents..
We analysed the usual suspects (eg conventional signs, pointing, enactment) but also oft-neglected English mouthing and invisible surrogates (where a confluence of indexing actions enables signers to imagine an entity in the signing space and behave as if it were present)...
In this dataset, choice of strategy most strongly motivated by activation status: new referents expressed with more conventionalised forms (eg manual signs and English mouthing); maintained and reintroduced referents involved fewer and more improvised, context-dependent stuff...
Animacy was also a motivating factor: humans and animals often depicted via visible enactment (not pointing signs), whereas inanimate referents favoured depicting signs and invisible surrogates…
But ALL strategies played a role in doing reference and patterned in predictable and interesting ways. HPCA analysis suggests composition of referring expressions also depends on a bunch of stuff still TBD (which is why we don’t offer any referential hierarchy, for example)…
Findings have implications for analyses of reference in all kinds of face-to-face interactions -- especially wrt cognitive accessibility and informativeness, pro-drop, zero anaphora, and meaningful use of space. We hope it improves understanding of #Auslan and #signlanguages too.
Personal #ECR note: today comes after a long labour of love conceived in 2015. Since then, we each relocated to other countries and languages at least once; manually coded and checked thousands of data points many times; submitted many un/successful grants; and sworn at R a lot.
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