Kinematic Parameters of Signed Verbs PurposeSign language users recruit physical properties of visual motion to convey linguistic information. Research on American Sign Language (ASL) indicates that signers systematically use kinematic features (e.g., velocity, deceleration) of dominant hand motion for distinguishing specific semantic properties of verb classes in production (Malaia & Wilbur, 2012a) and process these ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2013
Kinematic Parameters of Signed Verbs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Evie Malaia
    University of Texas, Arlington
  • Ronnie B. Wilbur
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Marina Milković
    University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Correspondence to Evie Malaia: evie1706@gmail.com
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor and Associate Editor: Janna Oetting×
Article Information
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   October 01, 2013
Kinematic Parameters of Signed Verbs
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1677-1688. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0257)
History: Received August 16, 2012 , Revised January 6, 2013 , Accepted February 17, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1677-1688. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0257)
History: Received August 16, 2012; Revised January 6, 2013; Accepted February 17, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeSign language users recruit physical properties of visual motion to convey linguistic information. Research on American Sign Language (ASL) indicates that signers systematically use kinematic features (e.g., velocity, deceleration) of dominant hand motion for distinguishing specific semantic properties of verb classes in production (Malaia & Wilbur, 2012a) and process these distinctions as part of the phonological structure of these verb classes in comprehension (Malaia, Ranaweera, Wilbur, & Talavage, 2012). These studies are driven by the event visibility hypothesis by Wilbur (2003), who proposed that such use of kinematic features should be universal to sign language (SL) by the grammaticalization of physics and geometry for linguistic purposes. In a prior motion capture study, Malaia and Wilbur (2012a)  lent support for the event visibility hypothesis in ASL, but there has not been quantitative data from other SLs to test the generalization to other languages.

MethodThe authors investigated the kinematic parameters of predicates in Croatian Sign Language (Hrvatskom Znakovnom Jeziku [HZJ]).

ResultsKinematic features of verb signs were affected both by event structure of the predicate (semantics) and phrase position within the sentence (prosody).

ConclusionThe data demonstrate that kinematic features of motion in HZJ verb signs are recruited to convey morphological and prosodic information. This is the first crosslinguistic motion capture confirmation that specific kinematic properties of articulator motion are grammaticalized in other SLs to express linguistic features.

Acknowledgments
This work was partially supported by National Science Foundation Grant 0345314, awarded to the second author. We are grateful to Nicoletta Adamo-Villani and Iva Hrastinski for their help with data collection and analysis. Recording was conducted at the Envision Center for Data Visualization at Purdue University. Portions of this study were presented at the Workshop on the Subatomic Semantics of Event Predicates (Barcelona, Spain, 2010).
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