CfP: Anaphora Resolution in Sign and Spoken languages – Theoretical and Experimental Dimensions (ARISAS) Location: University of Goettingen, Germany

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Workshop: Anaphora Resolution in Sign and Spoken languages – Theoretical and Experimental Dimensions (ARISAS) Location: University of Goettingen, Germany

Date: February 20-21, 2017

Linguistic fields: Syntax, (Experimental) Semantics, (Experimental) Pragmatics, Information Structure, Discourse Structure, Theoretical Linguistics, Experimental Sign Language Linguistics, Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics.

Invited speakers:

Petra Schumacher (University of Cologne, Germany),

Emar Maier (University of Groningen, Netherlands)

Meeting description:

One important aspect in spoken, written and signed discourse is the proper management and interpretation of discourse referents. Consequently, the resolution of co-reference has been one of the most investigated and at the same time most challenging topics in linguistic research on spoken languages. Anaphora resolution has been addressed from various perspectives such as formal and functional linguistics, psycholinguistics as well as corpus and computational linguistics. By contrast, research on anaphora resolution in sign languages is still relatively new and scarce compared to the amount of studies on spoken languages.

Since there are many different morphosyntactic, prosodic, semantic, and pragmatic factors, which play an important role in anaphora resolution, it is crucial to approach this issue from different linguistic perspectives. The potential universality and the interaction of these factors have been at the center of interest to researchers for a long time. Moreover, the modeling of anaphoric relations both within and across sentences has challenged both theoretical and functional linguists. In recent years and especially with the rise of experimental pragmatics and semantics, the principles of anaphora resolution have been revisited from an experimental and cognitive perspective. Such studies also include less investigated languages such as sign languages.

Earlier research on sign languages has shown that the anaphoric links – due to the peculiarities of the visual-gestural modality – can be established overtly in the signing space and therefore leave little space for ambiguities in anaphora resolution. However, with a semantic and pragmatic turn in sign language linguistics and a growing interest in discourse analysis, it has recently been shown that the ambiguities attested for spoken languages exist in sign languages as well. This opens a number of new questions and methodological issues for investigating anaphora in the visual-gestural modality both from theoretical as well as experimental perspectives.

This workshop combines theoretical approaches with typological and experimental ones in order to yield a better understanding of anaphoric relations across languages and language modalities. It aims at bringing together junior and senior researchers from different sub-fields of linguistics, gestural research and cognitive science working on anaphora resolution from various perspectives. We welcome submissions addressing anaphora resolution and reference tracking from formal, functional, typological and experimental perspectives in sign and spoken languages. The topics of interest may include but are not limited to:

  • Formal and functional analyses of anaphora resolution in sign and spoken languages
  • Typological descriptions of anaphora resolution across languages
  • Modality-specific and modality-independent aspects of anaphora resolution
  • Psycho- and neurolinguistic aspects of anaphora in discourse
  • Acquisition of anaphora in sign and spoken languages
  • The impact of discourse structure and perspective on anaphora resolution

The languages of the workshop are English and ASL/IS. Interpretation between English and ASL/IS will be provided.

We invite abstracts for sign/spoken presentations. Abstracts should be anonymous and not exceed two pages, including examples and references. Please send your abstracts electronically in pdf- or doc-format to and include your name, affiliation, the title of the abstract and the presentation type you would prefer in the body of the e-mail.

Student (poster) session abstract submission:

We invite graduate students to submit abstracts for a “Junior researchers poster session”. There will be a best-poster award for the most outstanding poster. Note that the abstracts can be only submitted either for a talk or a poster session.

Deadline for abstract submission: November 14, 2016

Notification: December 14, 2016

Workshop organizers: Anne Wienholz, Derya Nuhbalaoglu, Annika Herrmann, Nivedita Mani, Edgar Onea, Markus Steinbach

Contact: Derya Nuhbalaoglu                 

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