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Tri-College Linguistics Talk
Start Date: 2/24/2015Start Time: 4:30 PM
End Date: 2/24/2015End Time: 6:30 PM

Event Description:
Join Nathan Sanders, Visiting Assistant Professor, Swarthmore College, for his talk: “Active and Reactive Effort in Sign Language Phonetics”

ABSTRACT: In this work, I discuss joint work with Donna Jo Napoli in which we argue that the notion of articulatory effort needs to be expanded to account for a type of effort seen in sign languages but not in spoken languages. Articulatory effort in spoken languages is primarily the active effort used to move the oral articulators. However, movement of the more massive manual articulators in sign languages can induce movement elsewhere in the body, specifically, twisting or rocking of the torso. We call the resistive effort against such movement "reactive effort", which we argue is an overlooked part of overall articulatory effort. Our evidence comes from work on Italian Sign Language, Sri Language Sign Language, and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, showing that movements requiring greater reactive effort are less frequent in the lexicon than expected by random chance, and movements requiring less reactive effort are more frequent than expected. This work is part of a broader trend in linguistics concerned with how modality differences between spoken and sign languages can result in fundamentally different linguistic patterns. From studying these differences, we get a fuller understanding of the underlying factors governing language, some of which could not be discovered by studying only one modality.
Location Information:
*Swarthmore College - Kohlberg
Room: Kohlberg 116
Contact Information:
Name: Nathan Sanders
Phone: 610-957-6134
Email: nsander1@swarthmore.edu
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