Call for Papers: “Clause-type marking in the visual modality”

For the signed version of the Call in International Sign, go directly to:

Workshop at the Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS 2024) Ruhr University Bochum, Germany 28 February – 1 March 2024 


Invited presenters
Miriam Royer, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis
Pilar Prieto, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona 

Scope of the workshop
Clause-type marking by means of word order, inflection, complementizers, particles and prosody has been widely investigated. Much less is known about how clause-types are marked in the visual modality. This is true for sign languages, where visual cues carry the entire communicative burden, but also in spoken languages, where, in face-to-face interaction, visual cues are used alongside speech. How are declaratives, interrogatives and imperatives visually distinguished in spoken and sign languages? And how do the relevant visual cues interact with signals conveying the speaker’s stance or attitude (e.g. particular expectations in interrogatives and specific levels of commitment in declaratives) or the speech act that is performed (e.g. a command or a wish)? Which similarities and differences do we see in this domain between different sign and spoken languages? What kind of visual cues are involved? Initial research (e.g. Brentari et al. 2018, Domaneschi et al. 2017) shows that facial expressions, body poses, and temporal cues can all play an important role. Are other types of visual signals involved as well? What are the best methodological approaches to measure and categorize the relevant signals? Can methods making use of computer vision help in this regard?The workshop aims at bringing together scholars interested in visual ways to mark clause types, both in purely visual sign languages and in multi-modal linguistic interaction. It welcomes both empirical and theoretical contributions, as well as work exploring new methods to measure and/or analyze visual cues.

Topics of particular interest 
Topics include but are not limited to:

  • New empirical and theoretical studies on the interaction between clause-type marking and the expression of speaker stance/attitude (e.g. biases in questions, variable levels of commitment in assertions).
  • New empirical and theoretical studies on the relation between clause type and speech act type, based on evidence from sign languages and/or multi-modal linguistic interaction.
  • New experimental and corpus-based studies on the use of facial expressions and other non-manuals to mark clause types and/or speech acts.
  • New typological studies on visual cues for clause-type marking, comparing different sign and/or spoken languages. 

Conference languages and interpreting
The conference languages will be International Sign / American Sign Language (ASL) and English.  Interpretation is provided through Overseas Interpreting.  

Instructions for submission of papers
Abstracts can be submitted in the two conference languages: International Sign / ASL and English. Please note that the abstracts must not be anonymized. Written abstracts should include the name(s) of the author(s) following the title. Signed abstracts should start with the name(s) of the author(s). The written abstract must not be longer than two pages (1 text page and second page including tables, examples, and references), in 12-point type, single-line spacing and 2,5 cm margins. The signed abstract must be of a comparable length (approx. 5 minutes). There is a maximum of 3 submissions per author, either as a single author or joint co-author. 

Abstracts should be submitted to
For written abstracts, please send a PDF. For signed abstracts, please send a link to the downloadable video. 

Important dates
Deadline for submissions:  25 August 2023
Notifications of acceptance: 01 September 2023
Confirmation of participation:  10 September 2023
Workshop dates:  28 February – 1 March 2024 

Annika Herrmann, University of Hamburg
Nina-Kristin Meister, University of Göttingen
Marloes Oomen, University of Amsterdam
Floris Roelofsen, University of Amsterdam

Please contact the organizers if you have any questions:

Please also consult the website of the DGfS 2024 in Bochum for general information on the program, the venue, accommodation, and other workshops:

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