We are happy to announce a talk by Kathryn Davidson (Harvard University) at the Semantics Colloquium.

Please register beforehand (s.walter@em.uni-frankfurt.de) to receive the access data to zoom on Thursday shortly before the talk starts.

Title: Domain selection and the role of sign language loci

Date: December 10

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


In the study of the formal semantics of sign languages, significant attention has been given to the analysis of sign language loci, or the use of signing space to keep track of discourse referents. Notably, within formal frameworks, sign language loci have been used as evidence in favor of dynamic semantics as a case of overt variable indices, and they also share several properties in common with phi features. In this talk, I will focus on their pragmatic behavior, notably their low frequency in sign language corpora and production studies, and argue that the role of loci in contextual domain selection (for quantification, focus alternatives, and questions) has been overlooked. I will suggest an analysis that is consistent with the addition roles of loci, and preliminary experimental evidence supporting this perspective.