Gesture-Sign Workshop Prague 2019

Gesture-Sign Workshop Prague 2019

converging the perspectives on theories, methods, and applications

16–17 May 2019
Charles University Prague


The study of the multimodal nature of human communication has undergone immense progress over the past two decades, fuelled by a rapid growth of the field of gesture studies and by continuous development of the linguistics of signed languages. Our understanding of multimodality to a considerable degree draws on crossing over to disciplines beyond language sciences. At the same time, there is still a great deal of what can multimodality researchers with different theoretical or methodological backgrounds offer to each other.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers who share the focus on multimodality but come from different areas. In particular, its goal is to provide an opportunity for a discussion between

i. gesture researchers and sign linguists

ii. researchers who work with experimental (or generally quantitative) methods and those who approach the study of multimodality qualitatively

(i.) Even though gesture studies and sign linguistics intersect significantly, both areas should certainly benefit from a tighter link between the two. There are various reasons for the relative lack of collaboration between gesture researcher and sign linguists, including ideological reasons related to the history of sign language emancipation. As the recently growing attention of gesture researchers to sign languages (and vice versa) shows, bridging this divide is very much needed with respect to the elaboration of conceptual grounding and development of methodological tools for the study of multimodal communication

(ii.) For a long time, there has been a strong conceptual divide between experimental-quantitative and observational-qualitative approaches to the study of human interaction. While both experimental and interactional studies have led to significant findings, it has not always been possible to relate the two kinds of evidence, as the respective approaches diverge in terms of their goals and research philosophy. However, recently, a call has arisen for finding a common ground (most notably formulated by de Ruiter and Albert): focusing on how experimental and interactional approaches could in general complement each other.

Talks will be given by invited speakers – both gesture researchers and sign linguists. Alongside keynote and guest talks, posters will be presented on both days of the workshop. The workshop programme will be concluded by a general discussion.


Book of abstracts {pdf}

Venue & accommodation

Keynote speakers:

Gerardo Ortega (University of Birmingham)

Pamela Perniss (University of Cologne)

Jürgen Streeck (University of Texas)



Jan P. de Ruiter (Tufts University)


Guest speakers:

Benjamin Anible (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen)

Linda Drijvers (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)

Tommi Jantunen (University of Jyväskylä)

Petr Kaderka (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)

Silva Ladewig (European University Viadrina)

Peter Uhrig (University of Osnabrück)


Photos (TBA)


Organizing Committee:

Eva Lehečková (Institute of Czech Language and Theory of Communication, Charles University)

Jakub Jehlička (Department of Linguistics, Charles University)

Andrea Hudáková (Institute of Deaf Studies, Charles University)

Josef Fulka (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences)


Workshop venue

Campus Hybernská, 4 Hybernska St., 110 00 Praha 1,


Event hashtag: #pgsw19


The workshop is organized by the Empirical Perspectives on Communication and Cognition research group and the Czech Association for Language and Cognition with support of the European Regional Development Fund-Project „Creativity and Adaptability as Conditions of the Success of Europe in an Interrelated World“ (No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000734).












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