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Visual prosody in the Brazilian sign language: the difference in the use of non-manual expressions in the context of focus of new information and contrastive focus

Grant number: 20/13522-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): December 02, 2023
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Plinio Almeida Barbosa
Grantee:Letícia Kaori Hanada
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):21/08277-8 - Description of the non-manual expressions in contexts of intensifying or emphasizing the meaning in American Sign Language, BE.EP.MS


The present study aims to analyze and describe the use of Non-Manual Expressions (NMEs), that is, body movements and facial expression (Baker-Shenk and Cokely, 1980), exercising syntactic/prosodic expression of focus - one of diverse functions that these expressions can assume - in the context of New Information Focus and Contrastive Focus on some signs of the Brazilian Sign Language (BSL). For this purpose, in a first moment, a corpus with 20 statements and 20 questions regarding these statements will be built in order to elicit the emphatic production of key signs, a production that should be characterized by the use of NMEs. They will be selected as key signs, signs that occupy the categories of subject, action and object. Besides these statements and questions, so that the participant does not perceive the variable to be analyzed, distracting statements with other forms of focus will be elaborated. The results of this work are expected to contribute, mainly, on four fronts: a) in research involving sign languages, b) in the understanding of how NMEs are used in BSL as a resource to express Focus of New Information and Contrastive Focus, c) The importance of teaching prosody to BSL learners, since, as it is a space-visual language, BSL makes use of NMEs, that is, linguistic characteristics essential for achieving good fluency in the language, and d) In the relevance of the Experimental Phonetics methodology for the studies of acquisition of BSL prosody. (AU)

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