02/04/24 - Peter Z. Romanek (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Title: "Methodological Aspects in the Development of a Reference Grammar in Sign Languages"


Goal: My presentation will address a selected number of contemporary issues of grammar description in sign languages.

Background: Sign languages are self-explanatory, yet the academic traditions of sign language description rely on the written form of spoken national languages or English, motivated by many external factors outside of scientific considerations. Aside from the fact that sign languages have developed a wide range of research practices and results that contribute to the development of sign linguistics as an academic discipline, Deaf and sign language communities need access to their language when they are scientifically studied.

Proposal and Discussion: Two propositions will be used as a point of departure:

(i) Descriptive linguistics can offer good practices in the grammatical description of sign languages in/for sign languages.

(ii) The proper description of sign languages requires a set of established language resources.

Following these propositions, we will critically explore and discuss current research practices in defining the rationale of linguistic description projects, the role of linguistic data during research projects, and the role of empowering community-based research.


Presenter Bio:

Peter Zalan Romanek is the coordinator of the Estonian Sign Language Research Lab at the University of Tallinn. In his ongoing dissertation project at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, he focuses on the grammatical description of sign languages. Furthermore, his research areas cover language documentation, language policy and planning, and the role of sign language interpreters and interaction management.

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