Current PhD Projects

Sentence boundary recognition in DGS

Elena Jahn investigates the concept of a signed sentence and tackles the question of sentence boundaries in sign languages, specifically by applying a variety of methods on naturally signed data from the DGS corpus. She uses native signers’ intuitions on sentence segmentation and syntactically analyses complex signed constructions within the framework of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG).

Referential expressions in DGS

Felicitas Otte looks at and contrasts different genres of text within the corpus data, i.e., narratives and free conversations, and disentangles individual referential expressions used in DGS with the aim of establishing an accessibility hierarchy of those expressions for DGS within the framework of Ariel’s (1991, 2001) accessibility theory. The dissertation analyzes reference chains and the use of modality-specific and modality-independent expressions in terms of the accessibility of their referents.

Lexicalization of Constructed Action in DGS

Sabrina Wähl focuses on expressions that are typically named constructed action (CA) from a lexicographic perspective. She analyzes certain recurrent instances of CA in order to find out to what extent form - manual as well as non-manual - and meaning resemble each other across different signers. In doing so, she touches on the issue whether certain uses of CA can be lexicalized or not, and thus contributes to the debate on the grammatical status of CA on the telling-showing continuum.