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A study posits contrast as a separate category in Catalan sign language and in the field of information structure

A study posits contrast as a separate category in Catalan sign language and in the field of information structure

Doctoral research being carried out by Alexandra Navarrete at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences, has earned her the second prize for best presentation at the 52nd annual conference of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE) held from 21 to 24 August in Leipzig (Germany).

18.09.2019

 

Alexandra Navarrete González, a member of the LSC Lab and of the Formal Linguistics Group (GLiF) of the Department of Translation and Language Sciences (DTCL) at UPF, who is conducting her doctoral thesis on information structure in Catalan sign language, participated as a speaker at the 52nd annual conference of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), held from21-24 August in Leipzig (Germany). Her presentation won second prize for best presentation.

Various issues concerning general linguistics were dealt with at the SLE congress and Navarrete participated in the Managing Information Structure in Spoken and Sign Languages workshop.

In Catalan Sign Language (LSC), contrast is expressed primarily through movements of the torso and head, from left to right, combined with the use of opposite sides of the signing space to locate the contrasted references

Her research suggests that in sentences like ‘Giorgia is a linguist and Raquel is an interpreter’ there is contrast between the referents ‘Giorgia’ and ‘Raquel’, and between ‘linguist’ and ‘interpreter’. In Catalan Sign Language (LSC), this contrast is expressed primarily through movements of the torso and head, from left to right, combined with the use of opposite sides of the signing space to locate the contrasted references.

In LSC, at least three types of contrast can be distinguished: parallel, selective and corrective: varying degrees of contrast

Moreover, based on empirical data, the author observes that in LSC at least three types of contrast can be distinguished: parallel, selective and corrective, which imply varying degrees of contrast, with parallel contrast being the least and corrective the most marked, i.e., that involves a higher degree of contrast.

All types of contrast are expressed by the same basic combination of markers, but those involving a higher degree of contrast (selective and corrective) are correlated with additional prosodic markers: repeated head nodding in the case of selective contrast and one strong head thrust in the case of corrective contrast.

The results support the theories that contrast is a separate category in the field of information structure that overlaps with other concepts such as foci and topics.

Reference article:

Alexandra Navarrete-González (2019), “The marking and interpretation of contrast in Catalan Sign Language”, 52nd annual conference of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Leipzig (Germany), 21-24 August.

 

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