Currently for my PhD (beginning in 2019), I am working with Prof Nevins and Prof Kearsy Cormier on another emerging sign language in Brazil, Cena (literally: ‘scene’) alongside a local team of hearing and deaf researchers. I’m interested in how signers represent referents through classifiers and other strategies, and how such depictions interact with universal principles of phonology - given that highly iconic forms may be at odds with principles such as ease of articulation or (un)markedness. What can we learn from trade-offs between such motivations? What phonological or linguistic factors may encourage a departure from iconicity in young languages on the road to conventionalisation?
Email: Diane Stoianov