Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Linguistics for Sign Language Interpreters

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will overview the principles of General Linguistics and cover the concepts required to analyse languages at the different levels of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. It will provide the basis of comparison of spoken and written languages and of sign languages at all of the linguistic levels. An understanding of linguistic terminology will form an important component of the study-unit.

Students will also look at human language in its different forms and identify similarities and differences. Exemplification will be across spoken and written as well as sign languages. A close study of the correspondences between the vocal (and written) modality and the visual-gestural modality will be analysed closely.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to:
- Enable students to identify, explain and discuss the similarities and differences between spoken and sign languages;
- Enable students to identify, explain and discuss the similarities and difference between different spoken and different sign languages;
- Enable students to explain and discuss the relationship between modality and linguistic structure;
- Enable students to discuss general phonetic principles across modalities;
- Enable students to discuss important morphological and syntactic concepts and apply them across modalities;
- Enable students to discuss important semantic and pragmatic concepts and apply them across modalities.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Discuss the differences between medium and form and analyse the contribution of the medium to both spoken and signed texts and discourse;
- Explain, discuss and apply important concepts at different levels of linguistic analysis to data;
- Explain, discuss and apply the basic compositionality of words and of signs;
- Explain, discuss and argue for and against the productivity of both spoken and sign languages.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Analyse spoken and written language texts in terms of linguistic structure using appropriate linguistic terminology;
- Analyse sign language videos in terms of linguistic structure;
- Discuss different discourses using appropriate terminology;
- Analyse the correspondence between discourse in sign language as well as in spoken and written language.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:
- Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman & Nina Hyams. (2013) (10th ed.) An Introduction to Language Boston: Cengage Learning.
- Vedrana Mihalicek & Christin Wilson. (eds.). (2016) (12th ed.) Language Files - Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press.
- Alan Cruse (2011) (3rd ed.) Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Supplementary Readings:
- Jones, Rodney H. (2012) Discourse Analysis: A Resource Book for Students. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
- Roy, Cynthia B. (Ed.) (2011) Discourse in Signed Languages Washington, D.C. Gallaudet University Press.
- Altimira, Gemma Barbera. (2015). The Meaning of Space in Sign Language: Reference, Specificity and Structure in Catalan Sign Language Discourse. New York, US: de Gruyter Mouton.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Analysis Task SEM2 Yes 25%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 75%

LECTURER/S Marie Alexander (Co-ord.)
Maria Galea

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.