11 August 2023
The Semantics of Visual Communication - Co-speech Gestures and Sign language
In recent formal semantic research, both sign language and co-speech gestures have been analyzed by applying the theories established for spoken languages to visual meaning aspects. Only little attention has been paid to modelling the specific properties of the visual transmission channel. However, it is now becoming evident that the formal linguistic repertoire needs to be extended to meet the modality-specific requirements of visual communication such as the higher degree of iconicity of gestures and signs, the systematic use of the body of the speaker or signer and the space in front of the body to express, for instance, logical variables, comparative constructions, tense, topographic relations or context shift and the option to demonstrate actions and events. In this class, we will discuss selected examples illustrating the expressive power of visible communication and discuss recent formal accounts that enhance the formal linguistic apparatus to develop formally precise theories that can deal with and model the semantics of visual and multimodal communication.
Cornelia Ebert and Markus Steinbach
EUR 490: Early student registration
EUR 690: Early non-academic registration
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