Event Title

Facial grammar in ZEI (Iranian Sign Language)

Start Date

8-11-2017 8:30 AM

End Date

8-11-2017 12:30 PM

Description

Sign linguistics explores the grammar and characteristics of sign languages. The number of documented and studied sign languages is small, yet they have much to teach us about the full range of diversity within human language. This study is one of the first to analyze the grammar of Iranian Sign Language (ZEI). One area of study in grammar of any language, spoken or signed, is modality, which has to do with expressing obligation, permission, and possibility. In English, modality is expressed mainly by auxiliary verbs such as could, should, must. Based on video conversations from ZEI signers living in Iran, this study examines different signs and structures that are used for the expressing modality in ZEI. My findings show that in addition to manual signs, facial markers are important grammatical markers of modal meaning. The study also shows that some facial grammatical markers in ZEI have developed from facial muscle movements that occur during cognitive activities such as problem solving or trying to remember something, or physical activities, and consequently also appear in co-speech gestures.

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Nov 8th, 8:30 AM Nov 8th, 12:30 PM

Facial grammar in ZEI (Iranian Sign Language)

Sign linguistics explores the grammar and characteristics of sign languages. The number of documented and studied sign languages is small, yet they have much to teach us about the full range of diversity within human language. This study is one of the first to analyze the grammar of Iranian Sign Language (ZEI). One area of study in grammar of any language, spoken or signed, is modality, which has to do with expressing obligation, permission, and possibility. In English, modality is expressed mainly by auxiliary verbs such as could, should, must. Based on video conversations from ZEI signers living in Iran, this study examines different signs and structures that are used for the expressing modality in ZEI. My findings show that in addition to manual signs, facial markers are important grammatical markers of modal meaning. The study also shows that some facial grammatical markers in ZEI have developed from facial muscle movements that occur during cognitive activities such as problem solving or trying to remember something, or physical activities, and consequently also appear in co-speech gestures.