Lecture by Dr. Tarcisio Leite: “Turn-taking in sign language conversation: Theoretical and methodological considerations”

From GU’s Daily Digest on 2/10/2012:

The Department of Interpretation will host a lecture by Dr. Tarcisio Leite entitled “Turn-taking in sign language conversation: Theoretical and methodological considerations” on Tuesday, February 21, noon-1 p.m., Merrill Learning Center, Rm. B111. This lecture will be presented in spoken English with ASL interpretation. For additional information or to request accommodations, please contact The Department of Interpretation, 202-651-5149, or email interpretation@gallaudet.edu.

Leite holds a Ph.D. in linguistic and literary studies in English from the University of Sao Paulo.  Since 2009 he has been a professor at Federal University of Santa Catarina in the undergraduate Letters-Libras Course and in the Linguistics Graduate Program. His main research interests are social interaction, gesture, language and cognition, and deaf education.

In his lecture, Leite will argue that sign language conversation is organized under the one-at-a-time principle proposed by Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson (SSJ) in their seminal 1974 paper.  First, social and cognitive motivations for the normativity of the one-at-a-time principle will be offered, using two main theoretical frameworks: conversation analysis and cognitive linguistics. Second, given that many studies in the field of sign language research propose that one-at-a-time is a stylistic preference rather than a norm, Leite will review some of these studies in light of the present discussion, pointing out some common misunderstandings regarding the SSJ paper and emphasizing some theoretical and methodological considerations for the study of turn-taking, particularly in signed conversations. Finally, some illustrative data from conversation in Libras–Brazilian Sign Language–will be shown, providing evidence for participants’ own orientation to the one-at-a-time principle.

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