Complex predicates in Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS)

Project Details


Learning a sign language as a second language (L2) is anything but easy. One has to learn how to use multiple manual (hand shape/orientation, place of articulation, movement) and non-manual components (movement/position of head/face/body) in parallel, creating a unique scenario for motor-linguistic learning for L2 signers. The complex movement dynamics (e.g. how far or how fast hands travel), which are affected by linguistic parameters, are especially challenging for learners. For Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) grammatical descriptions, learning materials or assessment tools necessary for learners and teachers are lacking. Production of complex predicates (the core part of linguistic expressions) is also difficult. Complex predicates are composed of different morphemes for concepts, such as event structure, grammatical aspect, and argument structure, which are expressed by temporal (velocity, acceleration/deceleration, duration) and spatial (points, lines, planes in space) movement modulations combined with a verbal root.
The project will provide a first detailed analysis of complex predicates in ÖGS produced by proficient signers, and will show how these structures are acquired by hearing learners. The first sign language learning framework for complex predicates and machine learning algorithms useful for determining signer fluency level will be developed.
Effective start/end date1/03/2328/02/26