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New Faculty Colloquium - Reported speech and constructed action considering language modality and speaker gender: A look at signed versus spoken language

Dr. David Quinto-Pozos (Linguistics)

Wed, April 14, 2010 | GAR 2.112

4:45 PM

How do signers quote the words of someone else?  Are there ways to portray masculinity and femininity with the body?  How do male signers depict what females said?

    Despite obvious differences of production and reception, signed and spoken languages are quite similar in structure.  However, there are some differences that arise from the ability of signers to capitalize on visual iconicity, or ways in which the body is made to resemble aspects of a referent.  Some signs are iconic, but non-manual parts of the body can also be used in mimetic ways.  In this presentation, I will discuss common ways in which signers portray reported speech, or what was said at another time.  In sign, this not only involves the depiction of aspects of someone’s words, but also their actions.  The ways in which these depictions interact with portrayals of masculinity and femininity—as stereotypical representations of character sex—are of particular interest as we consider ways in which signed languages and spoken languages also seem to differ from each other in some respects.

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