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Östen Dahl: Contact induced changes in tense and aspect systems

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Östen Dahl: Contact induced changes in tense and aspect systems


Beata Wagner-Nagy and Anne Tamm. The caritive and abessive negation in the changing system of negation in Nganasan

This presentation focuses on the Nganasan caritive and abessive. The hypothesis is that these suffixes are markers of a special type of negation. The goal of this contribution is to pin down the exact meanings on the basis of new data, comparing them to the data of the abessive (caritive) in Finnic.

Marianne Bakro-Nagy. Contact-induced typological change in Ob-Ugric (Evidence from the development of conditional constructions)

The aim of the paper is to discuss an example of grammatical transfer between three Uralic languages – Komi and Mansi/Khanty – as a case of function-word borrowing accompanied by a process of grammaticalization. It will be argued that as the result of borrowing of conditional conjunctions from Komi, Ob-Ugric languages underwent a range of contact induced typological changes in their syntactic subsystem, i.e. in the subordinated conditional clauses. It will be argued as well that this type of change is characteritic to intense bilingualism without the signs of language shift.

Csilla Bartha: The situation of the Deaf and national minorities in Hungary


Helle Metslang: Changes in Finnish and Estonian tense and aspect


Boglarka Janurik: Age-related differences in the code-switching behavior of Erzya-Russian bilinguals

In this paper, I analyze the grammatical aspects of Erzya–Russian code-switching behavior on the basis of oral data. The aim of my research is to investigate how the sociolinguistic background (in this case the age) of the speakers influences the quantity and quality of switches in their speech.

I focus on differences in the code-switching behavior of three age groups of Eryza-Russian bilinguals. My analysis is based on a corpus of 15 unstructured and structured interviews, recorded with 5 speakers of each age group.
In analyzing code-switching from a grammatical point of view, I use Myers-Scotton’s model (2002) and the categories developed by Lanstyák (2005), which define the role of the two languages participating in code-switching on the basis of the morphosyntactic structure of the CPs. The language that sets the structure of the CP and provides the system morphemes is the matrix (or base) language of the utterance, while the other language is the embedded (or guest) language. Embedded language switches have their grammatical structure formed according to the rules of the Russian language only in embedded language islands. If the code-switched element appears in a phrase which contains elements from both languages then the structure is defined by the base language.
Lanstyák differentiates between base-keeping, base-changing and extra-utterance switches, which coincide with the traditional types of intrasentential, intersentential and extrasentential code-switching respectfully. Intrasentential switches are further divided into subtypes (B-, G-, Z-, and M-types), according the language the grammatical marker (mainly affixes in Lanstyák’s system) in a phrase derives from.
My preliminary results show that main differences are in the use of base-changing switches and the amount of B- and G-type switches. Besides age-related differences, other sociolinguistic factors (occupation, place of living, gender) also account for this variation. Attitudes towards the interviewer and the speech situation were also crucial.

Anna Komarova: Development of Bilingual Education of the Deaf in Post-Soviet Countries


Donna Lewin: Variation in the use of mouthing in British Sign Language – a comparison of four bilingual groups

The term ‘mouthing’ refers to the full or partial articulation of the spoken word (usually voiceless) by the signer when simultaneously producing lexical items in a signed language and are derived from a spoken language (Sutton-Spence & Boyes-Braem, 2001). Mouthings are sometimes referred to as ‘spoken components’ or ‘word pictures’ and have been reported to co-occur most frequently with nouns and morphologically simple verbs in a number of signed languages (Schermer 1990; Engberg-Pedersen, 1993; Nadolsk & Rosenstein, 2007). Sociolinguistic variation has been identified as a factor which may determine the number of mouthings used by different participant groups (Lucas & Valli 1992). In particular a signer’s linguistic background has been reported to influence the frequency of mouthings. Results suggest deaf people who have acquired sign language from birth use fewer mouthings than deaf people from hearing families and who were late learners of sign language. (Sutton-Spence & Day 2001, Keller 2001).
This paper compares the frequency and form of mouthing used by four groups of bilingual signers (deaf native signers, deaf non-native signers, hearing native signer interpreters and hearing non-native signer interpreters). The study looks at data elicited from narratives (picture stories, English text and spontaneous stories) and a structured discussion with a deaf native signer. Firstly the linguistic background of each group and results from language tests will be described. Following this a summary of the findings from the analyses will be given concentrating on the grammatical class of the mouthings and manual signs.

Johanna Mesch Variations in tactile signing - the case of one-handed signing

Tactile sign languages are varieties of national sign languages. Tactile signing among persons with deafblindness also includes some minor variations. Early analyses of Swedish tactile sign language (e.g. Mesch 2000) show how persons use both their hands in tactile communication in two different positions; dialogue position and monologue position. This paper examines the signing variations that partly or functionally blind signers encounter when using one hand in communicating with each other in a conversation dyad, which is one of the most advanced types of sign language communication. Tactile one-handed signing means that two participants are sitting next to each other so that the person “listens” only with the left hand while the right hand is inactive. The other participant uses both hands for signing, and after his/her turn “listens” only with the right hand.
Conversation analysis was conducted with four participants. The results show that some variations depend on the person's language background and everyday communication use. A comparison is made between a two-handed and a one-handed system, looking at issues of simplicity, flexibility, turn-taking, and feedback. Some studies on sign structure changes in both communication variants are also presented.

Tatiana Davidenko: Sign Language Diversity in Post-Soviet Countries


Manana Tabidze: Language complexities during integration of migrants in modern Georgia


Arnfinn M. Vonen: Influence from Norwegian on the pronoun system of Norwegian Sign Language

Norwegian Sign Language (NSL) is used by the Deaf community in Norway and has close historical ties with other European sign languages such as Danish Sign Language and French Sign Language. Being a minority language in Norway, it is subject to influence from Norwegian, a Germanic language. Being part of an ongoing description of the pronoun system of NSL, the present paper focuses on Norwegian influence on the pronoun system. A number of results of such influence will be described and discussed, such as (i) the introduction of a category of gender through mouthing (mouth movement patterns borrowed from Norwegian); (ii) the introduction of a distinction between second and third person through mouthing, and in the plural, a tempo distinction in the manual movement corresponding to the number of syllables in the Norwegian pronouns; and (iii) the introduction of a category of case through mouthing, and in the singular, the use of the manual component of the sign PERSON to express the objective/accusative.
I will describe these phenomena as they are currently observed in NSL pronouns and specify the linguistic and sociolinguistic functions of each of the processes mentioned. Some of the processes were part of a language “standardization” attempt that was carried out in the 1970s and 1980s, before the breakthrough of the acceptance of NSL as a language in its own right. The aim of this language planning process was that of making NSL more “logical”, “meaningful” etc. by changing its grammatical structure to become more similar to that of Norwegian. I will discuss, therefore, the impact of this language planning process on the pronoun system of NSL.

Nino Amiridze and Manana Topadze ???

Tatiana Agranat. The Syntax of Caritive Participles in Balto-Finnic Languages

Since the negation in the Balto-Finnic languages is expressed with the negative verb, it is always in the head of a clause and this way of negation is sometimes ambiguous. But the Balto-Finnic languages have the possibility to express negation without lifting along the tree -with caritive participles, which is the abessive form of –ma/-mä verbal noun.

Among Balto-Finnic languages only Finnish and Karelian distinguish predicative and attributive forms of caritive participles. Attributive ones are morphologically more compound, have an additional affix and can add case affixes and agree with noun. Caritive participles do not have voice oppositions; cf. fin.: näkymätön ‘blind, invisible’; tekemätön ‘not doing, undone’. In my talk, I will discuss my study of the correlation of caritive participles with semantic roles in Balto-Finnic languages. I will conclude that Finnish preserves the elder language state, but other Balto-Finnic languages lost it under the influence of contact languages.

Inge Zwitserlood: The construction and use of sign language corpora (The messier the better?!)

Historical language research is based on written texts. Partly this also holds for generative linguistic research, although here, also very often (explicit and implicit) linguistic knowledge of native language users is used. Using native signer’s knowledge is also often the course taken in research of signed languages. However, the use of the intuitions of language users is tricky, and does not always lead to objective language data, and as a result, to reliable language analyses. It has become apparent that linguistic research should also use naturalistic language data, especially in the first stages of description of a language. As for sign language research, all research strategies mentioned are quite problematic because there are hardly any sources: many signed languages have few native signers, there are no written sources and only scant other sources of natural data. In this paper I will discuss the construction of corpora of natural sign language data, focussing on a recently finished corpus of data of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). I will discuss its background and procedures as well as the current use of the data and their use for linguistic research that is envisioned in the (near) future. I will also discuss further developments of this and other corpora.

Zsuzsa Salánki. A Finno-Ugric Minority in Everyday Minority – the Urban Udmurts


Beatrix Oszkó and Larisa Ponomareva. The influence of Russian loanwords in Komi-Permyak

In our presentation we demonstrate phenomena due to language contact, i. E. the appearance of new phonotactic rules and a new type of syllable. The survey is based on a smaller Komi-Permyak corpus (cca. 5000 stems). We compared some features of recent Russian loanwords and earlier borrowings, as well as the features of the Proto-Uralic and Proto-Finnougric rules of syllabification.
We try to answer the following questions: is it possible to detect the signs of language planning in a scholarly dictionary? How can language planning influence the phonological changes?

Vadim Kimmelman. Russian Grammar Features In Russian Sign Language Discourse


Hege Roaldstveit Lønning and Sonja Myhre Holten. The attempt at standardizing Norwegian Sign Language in the 1970s

In the 1970s, the Norwegian Association of the Deaf (NDF) organized work that was supposed to make Norwegian Sign Language (NSL) more standardized, more logical and more similar to Norwegian. Signs and sign elements were created to fit the Norwegian language structure. Signs disappeared, new signs were born and signs were changed. In our project, we are looking at possible connections between this standardization attempt and prevailing negative attitudes towards NSL in this period. Our hypothesis is that the negative attitudes towards NSL may have speeded the implementation of the standardized signs. Our data comes from interviews with 16 Deaf NSL signers in four age groups. The signers have their background from schools for the deaf in Oslo and Trondheim. The focus of the interviews is on a selection of signs from a movie dated 1958, that are not seen in daily use today. They will then be compared with other sources: a sign dictionary from 1944, another one from 1988 (standardized) and a webbased one from 2006. The interviewees are presented with written Norwegian words and asked about which sign they use, and then they are asked if they recognise the old sign. After this, they watch a film from 1974 showing Deaf signers using the standardized sign language, and discuss their reflections on the language in the film.
We also interview eight individuals who were active during the implementation of the standardization about the reasons of their participation in this work, and the motivation underlying the standardization.

Diana Forker & Michael Cysouw. Analysis of thense and aspect system with Dahl’s questionnaire: The case of Bezhta and Hinuq.

Since 1985 Östen Dahl’s questionnaire on tense and aspect systems has been widely used for the investigation of verbal categories. But the cross-linguistic categories such as Perfect or Perfectivity that Dahl postulates on the basis of a 64 languages sample do not always match very well categories from languages not included in this sample. As a result, the statistical analysis he adopts may fail to give interesting results in the analysis of those languages. They only show how much a newly investigated language deviates from Dahl’s language sample. Nevertheless the tense-aspect questionnaire can be a means for the analysis of verbal categories by using new statistical methods. Thus, on the basis of our data collected for two closely related Nakh-Daghestanian languages, Bezhta and Hinuq, we want to extract the core tense/aspect categories of verbs and analyze the variation both within the two speech communities and between them. Some of the methods we adopt are:

i. k-means clustering of answers based on expression within the community (i.e. those answers are grouped that are generally treated identically). In this way the tense/aspect categories and their meanings can be identified.

ii. multidimensional scaling of clusters of answers to obtain a visual display of the relation between them. As a result, it is possible to differentiate between the answers that are closer together and could form the core of a category and those that are more at the periphery of a category.

iii. 3d-interpolation (kriging) of individual variation of expression to obtain contour overlay over the multidimensional scaling showing the differences between individuals and languages.

Asli Özyürek, Pamela Perniss and Inge Zwitserlood. A comparison of spatial descriptions in Turkish and German Sign Language.

Signed languages have been of special interest in linguistic study because of the visual-gestural modality in which they are expressed. In contrast to the 1-dimensional (temporal) speech signal, signed languages use 4 dimensions (3 dimensions of space as well as the time dimension). Specifically, the visual-gestural modality affords the use of a body articulator and two manual articulators simultaneously, that can map spatial relations between entities directly on space in front of and around the body of the signer. It has been stressed in the literature that spatial expressions in the signed languages studied so far are very similar because of this affordance; their canonical structure uses both manual articulators to represent the entities and their relative placement simultaneously in space in so-called classifier constructions. Our study of two unrelated signed languages (Turkish Sign Language and German Sign Language [TİD and DGS]), shows that there are indeed similarities in the spatial expressions. However, signers of both languages have a range of structures for spatial expression at their disposal, and there are differences in preference of use. Besides that, each language has language specific structures. We present here a preliminary report on the different structures we found in simple picture descriptions of five DGS signers and six TİD signers. We also show how these relate to the canonical spatial descriptions discussed in the literature.

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