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Current research projects





Impersonalization in Slavic

A corpus-based study of impersonalization strategies in six Slavic languages

In this project I give an overview of how impersonalization is expressed in Slavic. In particular the project seeks to address the following questions: 

  1. How is impersonalization expressed in Slavic? (by asking what types of structures Slavic languages use to render a propositional content expressed by the pronoun man in German)
  2. Are there significant differences in the distribution of major impersonalization strategies in Slavic languages?
  3. Are there translation effects?

It presents the results of a corpus study by outlining the strategies expressing impersonalization in six Slavic languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech and Polish). By using German man as a filter, this paper shows on the basis of a random sample of over 6500 translated sentences which impersonalization means Slavic languages use to express a propositional content expressed by the pronoun man in German. As the example below shows, Russian uses an infinitive construction as 'man'-equivalent:

RU           Это значит потерять всякую силу.

GE            Es bedeutet, daß man auf all seine Stärke verzichtet hat.

EN            It means losing all strength.

CZ            To znamená pozbýt jakékoli síly.                                                       (Milan Kundera)

The main findings are an outline of a cross-Slavic set of impersonalization strategies, which reveals interesting differences between the West, East and South Slavic languages in the distribution of man-equivalents and a highly significant impact of the source language on the choice of the impersonalization strategy in translation. 

Bauer, Anastasia. (under review).  Impersonalization strategies in Slavic: A contrastive corpus study based on the data from six Slavic languages. To appear in Journal of Slavic Linguistics.




Mouthing and fingerspelling in Russian Sign Language

The project provides a corpus analysis of mouthing and fingerspelling in RSL: description and implications for cross-modal contact (DFG, 2017-2022).

While some selected aspects of Russian Sign Language (RSL) have recently been researched, many topics in the grammar of RSL remain un(der)studied and nothing is known about fingerspelling or mouthing in RSL. This project aims at providing the first detailed corpus-based description of these two phenomena in RSL and showing how they bear on current debates regarding their linguistic status in sign languages. Due to particular aspects of the visual-gestural modality, fingerspelling and mouthing are specific cases of language contact that do not have a direct equivalent in spoken languages. Inasmuch as fingerspelling and mouthing constitute cross-modal language contact phenomena, this study will provide further insights into the interaction of three different modalities (sign, speech and writing) and the grammatical system(s) underlying this interaction.

The project gains insight into how the spoken and written Russian, in the form of mouthing and fingerspelling, combines with and affects RSL. The processes of nativization of fingerspelled words of the Russian manual alphabet into the sign language lexicon will be tested according to the cross-linguistic nativization model. By investigating the co-occurrence and variation of mouthings on the basis of a set of frequently occurring signs in RSL, the project will shed light on the linguistic status of mouthings.

The occurrences of fingerspelling and mouthing will be investigated as they are produced by and between native RSL signers in the recently created large RSL Corpus (2012-2015, Novosibirsk State Technical University, Russia) containing more than 100,000 signs in 230 video clips presented by 59 native RSL signers. The findings add significantly to the documentation of RSL, contribute to the debate on the linguistic status of mouthing and fingerspelling in sign language grammar, and discuss how these two phenomena suit the existing phonological and morphological models in the sign language and bimodal bilingualism research

Publikationen & Präsentationen

  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2020. Das Konzept der multimodalen Sprache am Beispiel von der Russischen Gebärdensprache. Bulletin der deutschen Slavistik 26, Berlin: Frank & Timme Verlag, 131-139.
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2019. When words meet signs: A corpus-based study on variation of mouthing in Russian Sign Language. In: Anastasia Bauer & Bunčić, Daniel (Hrsg.). Linguistische Beiträge zur Slavistik: XXIV. JungslavistInnen-Treffen in Köln, 17.-19. September 2015, 9-35. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2018. Артикуляция в русском жестовом языке. In: Kempgen, Sebastian / Monika Wingender / Ludger Udolph (Hrsg.): Deutsche Beiträge zum 16. Internationalen Slavistenkongress, Belgrad 2018. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2018 (= Die Welt der Slaven. Sammelbände – Sborniki 63), 36-46.
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2019. Seeing stress: temporal reduction in Russian sign language mouthings. Poster presentation at TISLR 13, Hamburg.https://www.idgs.uni-hamburg.de/forschung/tagungen/tislr2019/programm/poster-bauer.pdf
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2019. Comparing “palm-up” gestures and palm-up (PU) signs. Gesture Sign Workshop, Prag, 16-17 May.
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2019. Mouthings as prominence markers. Presentation at Sign Nonmanuals, Graz, 3-4 May.
  • Bauer, Anastasia & Roman Poryadin. 2019. The interplay of written and sign language. The first corpus-based analysis of fingerspelling and its functions in Russian Sign Language (RSL). Poster presentation at the LingCologne 2019: Multimodality, University of Cologne, 6-7 June.
  • Bauer, Anastasia. 2019. Non-manual components with palm-up in Russian Sign Language. Poster presentation at the 93rd LSA Annual Meeting. New York, NY. January 3–7.
  • Bauer, Anastasia 2018. Language contact between Russian and Russian sign language. XVI Slavistenkongress Belgrad, 20.-27. August.
  • Bauer, Anastasia, Burkova, Svetlana & Vadim Kimmelman. 2018. Non-manual markers in Russian Sign Language: three case studies. Poster presentation at the SIGN 9 Conference, Warsaw, Polen.