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Description of the non-manual expressions in contexts of intensifying or emphasizing the meaning in American Sign Language

Grant number: 21/08277-8
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): January 17, 2022
Effective date (End): July 16, 2022
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Plinio Almeida Barbosa
Grantee:Letícia Kaori Hanada
Supervisor abroad: Erin Laine Wilkinson
Home Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of New Mexico (UNM), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:20/13522-9 - 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, BP.MS


The present study aims to analyze and describe non-manual expressions (NMEs) that is, body movements and facial expression (Baker-Shenk & Cokely, 1980) that have functions such as lexical differentiation, participation in syntactic construction and contribution to intensification processes (Paiva et al. 2018), in contexts of intensifying or emphasizing the meaning in some signs of American Sign Language (ASL). For this purpose, the material that will be used will have approximately 24 signs / stimuli, which includes 8 signs that have NMEs as a distinctive intensification parameter, including nouns and adjectives, and 16 distracting signs that have other distinctive parameters in the meaning emphasis or intensification process. With the material ready, a total of 6 participants fluent in ASL as first language will be filmed. Data analysis will be done with ELAN program, through qualitative measurement of the amplitude, duration of the signs (neutral and intensified), presence / absence of a particular NMEs produced in intensified contexts and the duration of this NMEs compared with the NMEs of the signals produced in neutral contexts. It is expected that the results of this work will contribute, mainly, on two fronts: a) in the understanding of the extent to which NMEs in signals typically produced in neutral contexts are used as a resource to express the intensification of their meaning and b) In the relevance of the methodology of Experimental Phonetics for studies on the acquisition of ASL prosody.

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