Language and Logic workshop:
Formal approaches to sign languages.

  • Carlo Cecchetto ()
  • Carlo Geraci ()

Course material: 02 Brentari Eccarius ESSLLI 2009.pdf 03 Schlenker ESSLLI 2009.pdf 04 Koulidobrova ESSLLI 2009.pdf 05 Davidson Caponigro Mayberry ESSLLI 2009.pdf 06 Neidle et al ESSLLI 2009.pdf 08 MathurRathmann ESSLLI 2009.pdf 09 Bernaht ESSLLI 2009.pdf 10 Aboh Pfau 2009 ESSLLI.pdf 11 Donati Branchini ESSLLI 2009.pdf

External page


The recognition that sign languages are natural languages in their own right, and not collections of gestures or impoverished codes lacking an autonomous grammar, begins with Stokoe (1960). With Stokoe's work, the methods linguists use to describe and investigate spoken languages are applied to sign languages as well. In recent years, linguistic work on sign languages has also developed in formal frameworks, in the areas of phonology, syntax, and semantics. One goal of the workshop is to bring together researchers from different areas of formal linguistics who are investigating sign languages. The grammars of sign languages are as highly complex as the grammars of spoken languages and share with them many universal features, despite the difference in modality between spoken languages (which use the auditory channel) and sign languages (which use the visual channel). Yet, sign languages also differ from spoken languages in radical ways: morphological information in sign languages is often conveyed simultaneously by different articulators rather than linearly; moreover, certain aspects of their phonological, syntactic and semantic structures are not commonly found in spoken languages. These differences raise an interesting challenge for existing formal linguistic frameworks, which are designed to account for the grammars of spoken languages. By bringing together formal linguists working on sign languages, the workshop should contribute to meet this challenge.