Masha Esipova and Philippe Schlenker gave invited talks at the Week of Signs and Gestures workshop held at the University of Stuttgart on June 12-14, 2017. See the titles and abstracts below.
Masha Esipova: Co- and post-speech gestures: a prosody/syntax approach
Differences in structure and meaning between co- and post-speech gestures are an open question. For example, Schlenker (to appear) observes that, unlike co-speech gestures, post-speech gestures seem to require a discourse referent as an antecedent, similarly to non-restrictive relative clauses and ordinary anaphora. Schlenker (to appear) and Ebert (2017) propose to account for the differences between co- and post-speech gestures by positing different semantics for the two. In my talk I will explore an analysis under which gestures have a uniform syntax and semantics, and the co- vs. post-speech distinction only arises at PF during linearization. The restrictions on the anaphoric potential of post-speech gestures then emerge as a result of syntax-sensitive constraints on prosodic grouping.
Philippe Schlenker: Sign language grammar vs. gestural grammar
I argue that several non-trivial properties of sign language grammar can to some extent be replicated with 'hybrid' spoken language utterances that contain spoken words and 'pro-speech gestures' (gestures that fully replace spoken words, as opposed to 'co-speech gestures', which accompany words). These properties include: multiple loci to realize anaphora, including dynamic anaphora; agreement verbs that target loci corresponding to their arguments; the use of high loci to talk about tall individuals; the ability of ellipsis to disregard select properties of loci; the existence of Locative Shift, an operation by which a spatial locus can be co-opted to refer to a person found at the relevant location - as well as some constraints on Locative Shift; and the existence of repetition-based, iconic plurals, both with punctuated and with unpunctuated repetitions. While the point can be made theory-neutrally, it has theoretical consequences, as it suggests that several non-trivial properties of sign language can be known without prior exposure to sign language.