Strategies of representation for action verbs in Italian Sign Language In the verbal languages, the most high-frequency verbs referring to Action in everyday communication are “general”, since they can refer to different action schemas. Is that the same in Sign Languages (SL)? Studying action verbs in Sign Languages is very interesting because 1) SL makes embodiment visible; 2) SL can be considered a special window to explore the route from action perception, to concept construction, to expression of actions; 3) it is possible to verify similarities and differences between semantic classifications created through spoken languages and those created through SL. The projects IMAGACT and MODELACT have identified and represented 1010 distinct action concepts with prototypical filmed scenes. This linguistic infrastructure have been used to investigate action verbs in spoken languages as well as in Italian Sign Language (LIS). Sign languages give the possibility to represent an action incorporating some of the verb arguments and/or modality of execution in a mimetic way: as a matter of fact, different action types, labelled in English or Italian by a general verb such as “to turn”, are represented by different specific signs. The present study aims to investigate systematically how deaf signing children use general and/or specific verbs to represent different actions. To investigate LIS productions, five Italian action verbs, frequently used in children’s spoken lexicon, have been selected (Caselli et al., 2015): prendere (to take), aprire (to open), girare (to turn), rompere (to break) and attaccare (to attach). For each of these verbs 9 different videos (extracted from the IMAGACT Database) referring to specific action types have been shown to deaf signing children. Participants were 24 deaf signing children (5-10 years): 13 exposed early to LIS (first year of age) and 11 exposed later (after 36 months of age). Children were asked to describe the action performed. All LIS productions have been video recorded (total 882).92 In LIS, producing a «General verb» means using the same LIS verb to describe different types of action; producing «Specific verbs» means that the child performs a different verb according to how the action is performed, which is the object involved in the action, its affordances, and/or representing other semantic features. Children produced a specific verb in most cases - 72.26% - and a general verb in only 12.10% of cases (and mainly with one of the action proposed: prendere (to take)). Moreover, 6.96% of participants used a mixed strategy (general verb + specific verb), 6.51% used a semantically linked verb, while 2.17% used an out-of-target verb. There is a clear effect of age of LIS exposure: children exposed early produce more specific verbs with respect to children exposed later: 60.6% versus 53%. References Moneglia M. (2014). The variation of action verbs in multilingual spontaneous speech corpora: Semantic typology and corpus design. In T. Raso, H. Mello (eds.), Spoken Corpora and Linguistic Studies, 152-188. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Rinaldi P., Caselli M.C., Di Renzo A., Gulli T., Volterra V. (2014). Sign vocabulary in deaf toddlers exposed to Sign Language since birth. In Journal of deaf studies and deaf education, 19, 303-318. http://imagact.lablita.it and http://modelact.lablita.it/

Strategies of representation for action verbs in Italian Sign Language

Chiara, Bonsignori
2017

Abstract

Strategies of representation for action verbs in Italian Sign Language In the verbal languages, the most high-frequency verbs referring to Action in everyday communication are “general”, since they can refer to different action schemas. Is that the same in Sign Languages (SL)? Studying action verbs in Sign Languages is very interesting because 1) SL makes embodiment visible; 2) SL can be considered a special window to explore the route from action perception, to concept construction, to expression of actions; 3) it is possible to verify similarities and differences between semantic classifications created through spoken languages and those created through SL. The projects IMAGACT and MODELACT have identified and represented 1010 distinct action concepts with prototypical filmed scenes. This linguistic infrastructure have been used to investigate action verbs in spoken languages as well as in Italian Sign Language (LIS). Sign languages give the possibility to represent an action incorporating some of the verb arguments and/or modality of execution in a mimetic way: as a matter of fact, different action types, labelled in English or Italian by a general verb such as “to turn”, are represented by different specific signs. The present study aims to investigate systematically how deaf signing children use general and/or specific verbs to represent different actions. To investigate LIS productions, five Italian action verbs, frequently used in children’s spoken lexicon, have been selected (Caselli et al., 2015): prendere (to take), aprire (to open), girare (to turn), rompere (to break) and attaccare (to attach). For each of these verbs 9 different videos (extracted from the IMAGACT Database) referring to specific action types have been shown to deaf signing children. Participants were 24 deaf signing children (5-10 years): 13 exposed early to LIS (first year of age) and 11 exposed later (after 36 months of age). Children were asked to describe the action performed. All LIS productions have been video recorded (total 882).92 In LIS, producing a «General verb» means using the same LIS verb to describe different types of action; producing «Specific verbs» means that the child performs a different verb according to how the action is performed, which is the object involved in the action, its affordances, and/or representing other semantic features. Children produced a specific verb in most cases - 72.26% - and a general verb in only 12.10% of cases (and mainly with one of the action proposed: prendere (to take)). Moreover, 6.96% of participants used a mixed strategy (general verb + specific verb), 6.51% used a semantically linked verb, while 2.17% used an out-of-target verb. There is a clear effect of age of LIS exposure: children exposed early produce more specific verbs with respect to children exposed later: 60.6% versus 53%. References Moneglia M. (2014). The variation of action verbs in multilingual spontaneous speech corpora: Semantic typology and corpus design. In T. Raso, H. Mello (eds.), Spoken Corpora and Linguistic Studies, 152-188. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Rinaldi P., Caselli M.C., Di Renzo A., Gulli T., Volterra V. (2014). Sign vocabulary in deaf toddlers exposed to Sign Language since birth. In Journal of deaf studies and deaf education, 19, 303-318. http://imagact.lablita.it and http://modelact.lablita.it/
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1181504
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