Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Haptic-proprioceptive iconicity: deaf signers, deafblind signers, hearing gesturers and hearing blind gesturers" (Jarkko Keränen, University of Jyväskylä)
In the first CogSem seminar of 2023, Jarkko Keränen, who is writing his PhD thesis on Finnish Sign Language at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland) will present some of his recent research on iconic signs that involves other sensory modalities than the most often discussed kind, vision. This will be a hybrid seminar, so welcome to H402 to those who wish to be in the room, and to the zoom link to the others. As usual, we start congregating from 15:00, while the talk will start at 15:15).
Haptic-proprioceptive iconicity: deaf signers, deafblind signers, hearing gesturers and hearing blind gesturers
Voiced words may sound like something (e.g., meow); signed or gestured expressions may look like something (e.g., hands flap like wings), and are thus iconic. I will consider a question whether a person’s own body (e.g., bodily positions and touch) can feel like an object in some respect: haptic‑proprioceptive iconicity.
An aspect that is often overlooked in (vision-centric) iconicity studies in signed language (SL) is the bodily, haptic-proprioceptive aspect. To use a fresh example, in Slonimska’s (2022: 10) PhD thesis on iconicity: “Language can be also expressed and perceived through the visual modality, that is, by the visible articulators of the body - -”, emphasising the aspects of seeing and being seen. However, from a first-person perspective, signing (and gesturing) is a kind of sensorimotor loop – signing that depends on both visual and proprioceptive feedback for monitoring signing (Emmorey et al. 2009). Given that signers do depend on proprioception for monitoring signing, one may ask whether proprioception can involve in iconicity. A few SL researchers have recognised this kind of iconicity. For example, Keränen (forthcoming) described that, in the sign HAMMERING, the hand looks and feels like the imagined hand. More obviously, due to the lack of visual feedback, deafblind signers also must rely on haptic-proprioceptive iconicity.
However, these studies have mostly relied on their first-person intuition, and it line with the phenomenological triangulation of cognitive semiotics, it is timely to also utilise experimental methods. In my study, I elicit iconic descriptions of physical 3D objects from four groups of participants who have different linguistic and sensory experiences: sighted deaf signers, deafblind signers, hearing sighted gesturers, and hearing blind gesturers. The role of proprioceptive iconicity will be supported if similarities are found in iconic descriptions across all the groups. This implies widening the notion of linguistic and semiotic sign, including proprioception as a part of its expression.
Plats: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/61502831303 + room H402