|2022/2023||Vadim Kimmelman||Associate professor||University of Bergen (UiB)|
I am going to investigate a uniquely interesting and complex phenomenon in sign languages, namely whole-entity classifiers. Whole-entity classifiers are meaningful handshapes that are used in signs describing motion and location in various sign languages. The phenomenon of classifiers lies on the intersection between language and gesture, and its properties have caused a lot of controversy in the field of sign linguistics. In this project, my collaborators and me will look at classifiers in several sign languages, both at their structure and meaning, and apply different frameworks and perspectives to reach a better understanding. The analysis of this phenomenon has implications for general linguistics and the study of the human linguistic capacity and communication because it clarifies which parts of language are universal and present in signed and spoken languages, and which depend on the channel of communication.