Sociolinguistics Lunch: E. Mara Green (Barnard College)

OCT 26, 2018 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




October 26, 2018: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM




E. Mara Green (Barnard College), presents,

"A Chance of Understanding: Natural Sign Conversations in Nepal".

This talk focuses on the phenomenon of natural sign: a term I take from Nepali Sign Language (NSL) that refers to less conventionalized modes of signing used by deaf Nepalis who are not NSL signers. I demonstrate the importance of taking seriously the metalinguistic categories and insights of deaf signers, showing that natural sign is distinct from the classifications familiar from the (English-language) literature on signing. Among other features, natural sign conversations are characterized by both seeming fluency and frequent mis- or non-understanding. I argue that both the affordances and limits of natural sign as semiotic system and the shifting stances of signers toward the very possibility of interaction must be taken into account.

Reception to follow in the Linguistics Department. All are welcome to attend!