Prominence in action: Referent representation in German Sign Language (DGS) constructed action sequences

This project investigates constructed action (CA) in DGS as a phenomenon that may be sensitive to and participate in prominence distinctions (SFB Prominence in Language seed funding)

To report or depict a referent’s utterances, thoughts or actions, signers of signed languages often use a device known as constructed action (CA), in which an animate referent is mapped fully or partially onto the body of the signer. This project investigates whether and how prominence relations play a role in CA sequences in German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS). We ask to what extent prominence is relevant with respect to (1) the choice of referent(s) for CA, (2) the number and type of articulators representing referent(s) in CA sequences, and (3) the referential contexts in which CA occurs.