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      Kinematic Parameters of Signed Verbs

      1 , 2 , 3
      Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
      American Speech Language Hearing Association

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          Sign language users recruit physical properties of visual motion to convey linguistic information. Research on American Sign Language (ASL) indicates that signers systematically use kinematic features (e.g., velocity, deceleration) of dominant hand motion for distinguishing specific semantic properties of verb classes in production (Malaia & Wilbur, 2012a) and process these distinctions as part of the phonological structure of these verb classes in comprehension (Malaia, Ranaweera, Wilbur, & Talavage, 2012). These studies are driven by the event visibility hypothesis by Wilbur (2003), who proposed that such use of kinematic features should be universal to sign language (SL) by the grammaticalization of physics and geometry for linguistic purposes. In a prior motion capture study, Malaia and Wilbur (2012a) lent support for the event visibility hypothesis in ASL, but there has not been quantitative data from other SLs to test the generalization to other languages.

          Method

          The authors investigated the kinematic parameters of predicates in Croatian Sign Language ( Hrvatskom Znakovnom Jeziku [HZJ]).

          Results

          Kinematic features of verb signs were affected both by event structure of the predicate (semantics) and phrase position within the sentence (prosody).

          Conclusion

          The data demonstrate that kinematic features of motion in HZJ verb signs are recruited to convey morphological and prosodic information. This is the first crosslinguistic motion capture confirmation that specific kinematic properties of articulator motion are grammaticalized in other SLs to express linguistic features.

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          Most cited references60

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          Event perception: a mind-brain perspective.

          People perceive and conceive of activity in terms of discrete events. Here the authors propose a theory according to which the perception of boundaries between events arises from ongoing perceptual processing and regulates attention and memory. Perceptual systems continuously make predictions about what will happen next. When transient errors in predictions arise, an event boundary is perceived. According to the theory, the perception of events depends on both sensory cues and knowledge structures that represent previously learned information about event parts and inferences about actors' goals and plans. Neurological and neurophysiological data suggest that representations of events may be implemented by structures in the lateral prefrontal cortex and that perceptual prediction error is calculated and evaluated by a processing pathway, including the anterior cingulate cortex and subcortical neuromodulatory systems.
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            Word Meaning and Montague Grammar

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              Event structure in perception and conception.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
                J Speech Lang Hear Res
                American Speech Language Hearing Association
                1092-4388
                1558-9102
                October 2013
                October 2013
                : 56
                : 5
                : 1677-1688
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Texas, Arlington
                [2 ]Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
                [3 ]University of Zagreb, Croatia
                Article
                10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0257)
                5c4131d0-c68d-4d82-a8de-6dbfe417e370
                © 2013
                History

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