Speaker: Adam Schembri (University of Birmingham), with English/BSL interpreting
Title: The SignMorph Project: Issues and challenges in studying lexical variation, morphological ‘complexity’, and sociolinguistic typology
Abstract: SignMorph is an ERC funded project that began in 2021 which aims to better understand similarities and differences in the grammar of sign languages, and how these are shaped by language-internal and language-external factors. We are particularly interested in investigating claims that iconicity, language age, and the sociolinguistic ecology of signing communities has influenced the structural organisation of signed languages (e.g., Aronoff et al., 2005; Schembri et al., 2018). In this talk, I will discuss recent collaborative work on two issues: (1) the study of lexical variation and sociolinguistic typology, particular the claim that larger communities tend to show less lexical variation than smaller communities (Mudd et al., 2022), and (2) problems with the notion of morphological ‘complexity’ in cross-linguistic and cross-modal comparison of grammatical structure in sociolinguistic typology (Bisnath et al., 2022).
Online via link invitation