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The expression of non-actual motion in Swedish sign language

Ekström, Jonas LU (2015) ALSK11 20142
General Linguistics
Abstract
The use of motion expressions to describe objects that are actually static (e.g. “The train tracks curves through the mountain”) has been of interest within the fields of linguistics and cognitive science for at least three decades (e.g. Langacker, 1990; Matsumuto, 1996; Talmy, 2000a; Matlock, 2004a; Zlatev & Blomberg, 2013). In this thesis, such descriptions will be referred to as Non-Actual Motion (NAM) sentences/expressions. On the basis of theoretical and empirical considerations of the spatial semantics and form-meaning mappings of Swedish Sign Language (SSL), a small elicitation study was conducted. The target stimuli of the study (i.e. pictures of spatial scenes with objects that are extended horizontally [e.g. roads and fences])... (More)
The use of motion expressions to describe objects that are actually static (e.g. “The train tracks curves through the mountain”) has been of interest within the fields of linguistics and cognitive science for at least three decades (e.g. Langacker, 1990; Matsumuto, 1996; Talmy, 2000a; Matlock, 2004a; Zlatev & Blomberg, 2013). In this thesis, such descriptions will be referred to as Non-Actual Motion (NAM) sentences/expressions. On the basis of theoretical and empirical considerations of the spatial semantics and form-meaning mappings of Swedish Sign Language (SSL), a small elicitation study was conducted. The target stimuli of the study (i.e. pictures of spatial scenes with objects that are extended horizontally [e.g. roads and fences]) were expected to elicit a higher amount of NAM expressions compared to control stimuli (i.e. pictures of objects less extended in space [e.g. trees and benches]). Using the semantic framework of Holistic Spatial Semantics (HSS) (Zlatev, 2003), some patterns of NAM-expression were found to be similar to those of three spoken languages: Swedish, French and Thai (Blomberg, 2014). Target stimuli designed to cue a higher amount of NAM-expressions did so, which provides further support for theories suggesting that cognitive processes such as enactive perception and mental scanning motivate the use of NAM-sentences in SSL just as for spoken languages. However, SSL also showed a wide array of language- and modality- specific conventions: the iconicity in the modality of SSL allows more precise and dynamic descriptions of spatial experiences. For example, fewer overt expressions of NAM were used than in the spoken languages. Still, the expression of motion-related semantic categories through more or less iconic signs forms, such as depicting verbs and modified adverbs, were found in higher numbers in descriptions of stimuli pictures of objects that afford human translocation. (Less)
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author
Ekström, Jonas LU
supervisor
organization
course
ALSK11 20142
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Swedish sign language, fictive motion, non-actual motion, linguistic conventions
language
English
id
5471318
date added to LUP
2015-10-02 10:43:04
date last changed
2015-10-02 10:43:04
@misc{5471318,
  abstract     = {The use of motion expressions to describe objects that are actually static (e.g. “The train tracks curves through the mountain”) has been of interest within the fields of linguistics and cognitive science for at least three decades (e.g. Langacker, 1990; Matsumuto, 1996; Talmy, 2000a; Matlock, 2004a; Zlatev & Blomberg, 2013). In this thesis, such descriptions will be referred to as Non-Actual Motion (NAM) sentences/expressions. On the basis of theoretical and empirical considerations of the spatial semantics and form-meaning mappings of Swedish Sign Language (SSL), a small elicitation study was conducted. The target stimuli of the study (i.e. pictures of spatial scenes with objects that are extended horizontally [e.g. roads and fences]) were expected to elicit a higher amount of NAM expressions compared to control stimuli (i.e. pictures of objects less extended in space [e.g. trees and benches]). Using the semantic framework of Holistic Spatial Semantics (HSS) (Zlatev, 2003), some patterns of NAM-expression were found to be similar to those of three spoken languages: Swedish, French and Thai (Blomberg, 2014). Target stimuli designed to cue a higher amount of NAM-expressions did so, which provides further support for theories suggesting that cognitive processes such as enactive perception and mental scanning motivate the use of NAM-sentences in SSL just as for spoken languages. However, SSL also showed a wide array of language- and modality- specific conventions: the iconicity in the modality of SSL allows more precise and dynamic descriptions of spatial experiences. For example, fewer overt expressions of NAM were used than in the spoken languages. Still, the expression of motion-related semantic categories through more or less iconic signs forms, such as depicting verbs and modified adverbs, were found in higher numbers in descriptions of stimuli pictures of objects that afford human translocation.},
  author       = {Ekström, Jonas},
  keyword      = {Swedish sign language,fictive motion,non-actual motion,linguistic conventions},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The expression of non-actual motion in Swedish sign language},
  year         = {2015},
}