Gaurav Mathur of Gallaudet University will be giving a talk (abstract below).


The talk will be in the IRCS Conference Room at 3:30pm and will be followed by the GradLingS reception. You must be over 21 and possess a valid ID to attend the second event.


Revisiting nonconcatenative morphology in signed languages


There is consensus that signed languages favor nonconcatenative morphology. Several reasons have been put forth for the prominence of nonconcatenative morphology in signed languages: the relatively slower rate of production of the manual articulators, an increased amount of information that can be conveyed through a three-dimensional medium, and the exploitation of iconicity afforded by the visual modality, among other factors (Klima and Bellugi 1979, Aronoff, Meir and Sandler 2005, Fernald and Napoli 2000). Further analysis suggests there are two types of nonconcatenative morphology in signed languages. In one type, all the morphemes in a sign have a fixed realization. This is similar to nonconcatenative morphology seen in spoken languages. In the other type, at least one of the morphemes in a sign does not have a fixed realization in the lexicon and must be realized through interaction with gestural (signing) space. This type is not attested in spoken languages as far as we know. This presentation argues for these two types on the basis of phonological constraints that interact with them in a number of signed languages and clarifies how multiple factors converge to result in the prominence of nonconcatenative morphology in signed languages.