Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM5680 (AF:356066 AR:187113)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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The course shares the following objectives and expected results: the student knows and critically understands the techniques and tools of linguistic research in sign language and in Italian Sign Language in particular; the student knows and understands recent proposals advanced in linguistic theory on complex constructions in LIS; the student is able to apply his/her linguistic knowledge to different empirical domains; the student is able to advance original formal analyses coherent with the observed data; the student is able to find adequate bibliography and to use it critically; the student is able to present his/her research work both in a written paper and through an oral presentation.
Main objective of the course is to develop the ability to carry out an advanced formal analysis of Italian Sign Language in comparison with studies carried out on world sign languages by applying the formal tools acquired during the courses of Italian Sign Language 1, Italian Sign Language 2, Italian Sign Language 3, Italian Sign Language linguistics and General linguistics mod. 1, mod. 2. The course aims at promoting the metalinguistic awareness of Italian Sign Language in a comparative perspective with Italian and in a cross-modal perspective between spoken and sign languages.
The competences acquired during this course allow a conscious acquisition of the contents of the course of Italian Sign Language.

Detailed objectives
1. Knowledge and understanding
The student knows the formal syntactic representation proposed in the literature of subordinate clauses in Italian Sign Language at an advanced level in comparison with the world sign languages.
The student understands the syntactic features typical of the visuo-gestural modality responsible for the different syntactic structure in a comparative perspective with Italian and spoken languages.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding
The student knows how to use the linguistic terminology at all levels of the acquired knowledge.
The student knows how to use the tools of analysis of formal linguistics to describe even complex aspects of the syntax of Italian Sign Language. The student is able to detect and reflect upon the syntactic structural differences between Italian and Italian Sign Language. The student is able to recognize the syntactic features and structures of complex clauses of Italian Sign Language. The student is able to apply the acquired knowledge to new linguistic data.
The student is able to solve problems of formal syntactic analysis when presented with new linguistic data.
3. Making judgements
The student is able to critically analyze new data in Italian Sign Language by arguing and defending his/her hypotheses advanced on the basis of the knowledge acquired during the course.

4. Communication
The student is able to express his/her hypotheses and the formal analyses advanced in the literature on the syntactic representation of Italian Sign Language by employing the terminology specific to formal linguistic studies.
The student is able to interact with the peers and the professor in a critical and respectful way.

5. Learning skills
The student is able to develop critical thinking.
The student is able to look for and find the literature specific to the linguistic phenomena object of investigation.
The student is able to develop the acquired knowledge for future higher studies.
The student is expected to have acquired the competences required by the following courses: Italian Sign Language 1, Italian Sign Language 2, Italian Sign Language 3, General Linguistics mod. 1 and, preferably, General Linguistics mod. 2 and LIS Linguistics.

Linguistic research on sign languages: tools and strategies to identify coordination vs. subordination
Complement clauses
Subject clauses
Full relative clauses
Free relative clauses
Adverbial temporal clauses
Adverbial locative clauses
Adverbial manner clauses
Adverbial purpose clauses
Adverbial concessive clauses
Adverbial reason clauses
Comparative clauses
Conditional clauses
Passive constructions
The grammar of bimodal bilinguals
Branchini, C., Mantovan, L. (ed) 2020. A grammar of Italian Sign Language. SIGN-HUB Sign Language Grammars [SHSLG]. A selection of articles will be indicated during the course.
Pfau R., Steinbach, M., Woll B. (ed) 2012. Sign Language. An international Handbook. Mouton De Gruyter. Students will read the following article:
- Coordination and subordination – Tang & Lau
Pfau R., Steinbach, M., Hermann, A. (2016). A matter of complexity. Mouton De Gruyter. Students will read the following articles:
- Complex sentences in sign languages - Pfau & Steinbach
- Observations on clausal complementation in Turkish Sign Language – Göksel & Kelepir
- An in-depth tour into sentential complementation in Italian Sign Language – Geraci & Aristodemo
- Embedding polar interrogatives in American Sign Language – Davidson & Caponigro
Further articles in electronic format will be made available during the course.

Students will be evaluated through an experimental research work aiming at analyzing linguistic data in LIS provided by the instructor. The experimental research work will be carried out individually and will be presented to the class at the end of the course. Besides the oral presentation, students are required to hand in a short paper on it. This examination aims at verifying the applied knowledge and understanding of the topics presented during the course, the student’s ability to make judgements, the student’s ability to communicate his/her knowledge and his/her critical thinking, as well as the appropriate use of the specialized linguistic terminology.
Lectures and linguistic practices (or online learning, depending on the emergency due to covid-19).
Video recorded linguistic material will be used.

The course is taught in Italian.
Attendance is warmly recommended.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 12/03/2021