Profiles

Johanna Mesch

Johanna Mesch

Professor

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Arbetar vid Institutionen för lingvistik
E-post johanna.mesch@ling.su.se
Besöksadress Universitetsvägen 10 C, plan 2-3
Rum C 351
Postadress Institutionen för lingvistik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Professor, ämnesföreträdare/ämnesansvarig för teckenspråk vid Institutionen för lingvistik, Stockholms universitet

Presentation på teckenspråk
Presentation på svenskt teckenspråk

Undervisning

HT 2019:
  • LIT140 Teckenspråkslingvistik I, Språkvetenskaplig översikt, 4 hp
  • LIT140 Teckenspråkslingvistik I, Dövas språk, kultur och historia, 3,5 hp
  • LIT310 Teckenspråk kandidatkurs, Teckenspråksteori II
  • LITK10 Teckenspråk i teori och praktik I, Dövas kultur och historia, 5 hp
  • LIT400/LIT403 Teckenspråk som nybörjarspråk I, Dövas kultur och historia, 5 hp
  • TTA705 Dövblindtolkning, 15 hp
Här är ett exempel på min föreläsning om teckenspråkets historia.
 
Under augusti-oktober 2018 vistades jag i Florianópolis, Brasilien, som gästprofessor.
 

Forskning

Min expertis inom taktil teckenspråkskommunikation har varit efterfrågad i flera år, efter min doktorsavhandling Teckenspråk i taktil form – turtagning och frågor i dövblindas samtal på teckenspråk (1998). Jag har haft ett övergripande ansvar för ett treårigt projekt Korpus för det svenska teckenspråket under åren 2009-2011, finansierat av Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Nu är jag involverad i ett treårigt TATE-projekt Från tal till tecken - att lära sig Svenskt teckenspråk som andraspråk under åren 2017-2019, tillsammans med Krister Schönström. Jag är också involverad i det nationella Swe-Clarin-projektet, tillsammans med Mats Wirén på datorlingvistik.

 

Aktuella forskningsprojekt:

  • Från tal till tecken - att lära sig Svenskt teckenspråk som andraspråk, TATE-projektet
  • Taktilt samtal mellan två personer med dövblindhet samt tolkning 
  • Syntaktisk annotering av den svenska teckenspråkskorpusen (inom projektet Swe-Clarin https://sweclarin.se/swe/centrum/stockholm)
  • Transitivity of Swedish Sign Language verbs 
  • Referencing across signed languages: a cross-linguistic study of doing reference while story-telling
  • Calendric Terms in Sign Languages http://ujkn.ff.cuni.cz/en/research/calendric-terms/

Publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2019. Lorraine Leeson (et al.). The Routledge Handbook of Sign Language Pedagogy, 339-352

    This chapter explores the use of sign language corpora in L1 and L2/Ln sign language classes. We discuss how corpora have been developed and used by linguists working on spoken and, more recently, signed languages. The corpora can be leveraged for pedagogic purposes. Examples from corpora-based pedagogical practice in Sweden, Ireland, and Australia are offered. We outline some possible future pedagogical applications of sign language corpora and propose some research pathways that presently remain unexplored.

  • 2019. Ingela Holmström, Johanna Mesch, Krister Schönström.

    Det finns många olika inriktningar inom teckenspråksforskningen idag och en avsevärd mängd studier utifrån olika perspektiv och på olika språkliga nivåer. I den här forskningsrapporten görs en översikt över svensk och internationell teckenspråksforskning under 2000-talet, med särskilt fokus på allmänspråkvetenskap. Rapporten berör dock även kognitiv lingvistik, psyko- och neurolingvistik samt sociolingvistik. Dessutom fokuseras i ett varsitt avsnitt barns teckenspråk och inlärning av teckenspråk som andraspråk. Det som tas upp är ett urval av den forskning som bedrivits och rapporten gör inte anspråk på att vara heltäckande, men ger utöver de översiktliga beskrivningarna också ett stort antal referenser för fortsatt egen läsning inom de olika områden som tas upp.

  • 2018. Ingela Holmström, Johanna Mesch.

    Det finns i Sverige runt 2000 personer under 65 år med dövblindhet. En andel av dem är döva sedan barndomen och har förvärvat sin synnedsättning senare i livet. De har då vanligen svenskt teckenspråk som sitt förstaspråk och har i takt med att synen blivit sämre övergått till att använda sig av taktilt teckenspråk som är en del av det svenska teckenspråket, men som inte i samma utsträckning grundar sig i vad som kan uppfattas visuellt. I den här forskningsrapporten studeras taktil teckenspråkskommunikation och hur de personer med dövblindhet som först lärt sig det visuella svenska teckenspråket innan de övergår till att använda taktilt svenskt teckenspråk använder sig av teckenrummet i dialoger med varandra. Till grund för analysen ligger en korpus som består av åtta informanter i varierande åldrar från olika delar av Sverige. Denna korpus har kunnat skapas tack vare medel från Mo Gårds forskningsfond och arbetet med att annotera dialogerna har pågått allt sedan inspelningarna genomfördes år 2013. Idag har strax under hälften av korpusen annoterats och det är den annoterade delen som ligger till grund för analysen som redovisas i denna rapport. Bland annat beskrivs hur informanterna skapar gemensam mening och förståelse när de inte ser varandra och hur de ger återkopplingar på ett sätt som skiljer sig från hur man gör i det visuella svenska teckenspråket. Dessutom visas skillnader mellan det visuella och taktila svenska teckenspråket avseende andelen bokstaveringar, som är högre i det taktila, liksom förekomsten av pekningar som istället är mindre vanliga där.

  • 2019. Johanna Mesch, Eli Raanes.

    In this study, we will focus on questions and responses of deafblind people in two sign languages in tactual modality: Swedish Sign Language and Norwegian Sign Language. Everyday conversation in sign language works by the combination of manual expressions made by the hands and body in combination with non-manual (visual) expressions. The visual non-manual expressions may include eye gaze, facial expressions and mouth movement. The usage of interrogative structures (how to express questions) is a typical part of signed languages where the visual and non-manual components have specific importance as signals of a question or a wish for response. Many studies have focused on various aspects of question and response in several sign languages, giving insight on the importance of precise usage of the non-manual parts of signing (e.g. Zeshan, 2006). Tactile sign languages are used in dialogical situations where those involved in the interaction not are able to see each other. Based on earlier studies of tactile sign languages (Mesch, 1998, 2013; Mesch, Raanes, & Ferrara, 2015; Raanes, 2006, 2011), we are investigating understanding practices and mistakes concerning questions and responses. Based on our empirical data from natural interaction between adult deafblind signers, we will focus on a selection on ways of getting attention towards request for response and how to question-constructions are formed in datasets from those two sign languages. The findings from this study show that there are different type of questions (content, polar, rhetorical) and type of social actions (e.g. request for confirmation or clarification, repair, etc.), where deafblind signers have their own strategies (e.g. fingerspelling, repetition etc.) to understand each other.

  • 2019. Rachel Sutton-Spence, Johanna Mesch.

    This research uses recent developments in online, digital collections and anthologies of sign language poetry to describe the poetic norms that govern the expectations of sign language poets and their audiences. We follow Toury’s idea of norms, as “the general values or ideas shared by a community […] appropriate for and applicable to particular situations, specifying what is prescribed and forbidden as well as what is tolerated and permitted in a certain behavioural dimension.” (1995: 55). Norms are particularly important to avoid prescriptivism, enabling researchers of sign language literature and poetry to describe what is currently considered good, and what has been considered good in different times and different communities, without prescribing how sign language poetry should be done. We draw on sign language poetry anthologies from three different sign languages to look at the language, literary and cultural norms underlying the poetry, in search of what may be considered “the best” in each culture. We find similarities and differences across the anthologies and their languages.

    Anthologies of literary productions in sign languages are needed as a resource for research and teaching in sign language literary and linguistics and for translators and poets to develop their work. Early research on sign language poetry focused on the work of a small selection of poets, simply because that was all that was available for research purposes (for example Christie and Wilkins, 2007; Sutton-Spence, 2005, Crasborn 2006; Rose, 2006). Such limited materials enabled researchers to perform in-depth analyses of signed poetry and afforded great insights into the art form but could not give broader overviews of the range of norms existing in the poets’ communities.

    Anthologies pre-suppose that their selected content is “the best” (Hopkins 2008), as considered by the community’s “expectancy norms” (Pym, 2010). Di Leo (2004) has noted that traditional views of anthologies require them to include work that has been published previously and has “stood the test of time”. Sign language anthologies rarely follow this maxim because of the recency of the art-form, and the collections used for this research include new material as well as previously published works. The relationship between canons and anthologies is also well-recognised (Guillory, 1993; Finke 2004), as anthologies reflect and create canons of literature.

    We investigated the poems and literary performances in four online anthologies and collections of sign language literature in three countries (two in Brazilian Sign language, one in British Sign Language, and one in Swedish Sign Language). Although our primary interest was sign language poetry, we note (along with Peters 2000) that there is no watertight definition of a poem in sign language (or possibly in any language). One Brazilian anthology contains 35 poems by 21 poets, and the other contains 20 poems by 19 poets. There is no overlap in the content of poems, although several poets are represented in both. The British anthology contained 100 poems. The majority were by 9 individual poets, although three poems, being Renga poems were composed and performed by an additional 25 people. The Swedish collection contains 25 poems by 14 individual poets and also some collective Renga poems.

    In our study, we find that the accepted and valued forms of sign language poetry are diverse, with a range of genres. Analysis of the poems found that some norms for sign language poems arise from within the wider literary world (for example signed haiku and renga), with varying degrees of adaptations (including duets and lyric poems), but some are specific to sign languages (such as multiple perspective poems, classifier poems and Visual Vernacular pieces). Basic concepts, such as how closely the poetry fits sign language grammar may be seen within the poems in the anthologies.

    As Pym (2010) acknowledges, however, norms have a prescriptive undertone, given that work that does not adhere to the current norms may not be considered “good”. Difficult work (Shetley 1993) may be seen as deviating from the norm and thus risks not being included in anthologies and not being considered as material for research (which promotes poetic work considerably). Anthologies are traditionally seen as conservative phenomena (Gilbert and Guber, 1979). Knowing that norm-breaking leads to innovation and that poetry’s business is innovation, norms are in constant tension with the games that poets play, as new trends emerge. In the anthologies studied, we see evidence of new forms developing, and more established forms being created.

  • 2019. Johanna Mesch, Krister Schönström.

    This presentation focuses on non-manual mouth actions performed by deaf signers and adult second language (L2) learners of Swedish Sign Language (SSL). The discussion of the linguistic status of mouth actions in the literature motivates our work and study. Based data from SSLC (Swedish Sign Language Corpus) (Mesch & Wallin 2015) and SSLC-L2 (L2 learner corpus in SSL) (Mesch & Schönström 2018), we compare the use of mouth actions in L1 as well as L2learners. The presentation will also describe the annotation work of non-manual mouth actions. The annotation and analysis depart from Crasborn et al.’s (2008) categories of mouth actions that have been applied to several sign languages. Distribution, frequency and spreading patterns of use of mouth actions are observed and described. The results reveal some similarities as well as differences in use of mouth actions between the groups. Furthermore, the analysis reveals qualitative differences related to the interaction and synchronization of mouth actions and hand movements among L2 learners of SSL. Challenges of annotating mouth actions will also be discussed. 

  • 2019. Diane Lillo-Martin, Christian Rathmann, Johanna Mesch.

    The international Sign Language Linguistics Society was founded by a group of sign language linguists in 2000 and aims to promote sign language research on an international scale and the maintenance of high scientific and ethical standards of research into the languages of deaf communities. SLLS encourages the exchange of information through meetings and publications, particularly the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR) conference series. SLLS signed a memorandum of understanding with the WFD in 2016. In this presentation, we will discuss some of the ways that SLLS members are involved in activities that support sign language rights for all. Many SLLS members work on research into sign language acquisition by deaf and hearing children (Chen Pichler et al., 2018), and on promoting linguistic human rights and the avoidance of language deprivation for deaf children (Humphries et al., 2016). Most SLLS members also work in other less obvious ways in supporting sign language rights, particularly in the linguistic description and documentation of the sign languages of deaf communities. In the last decade, we have seen the rise of corpus-based approaches to sign language linguistics. Corpora are large representative samples of language data that can be search by computer and which can provide a collection for many uses. We have also seen more online dictionaries of sign languages, many of them supported by the work done by sign language researchers. Linguists also work on reference grammars, and work with deaf communities in many parts of the world to document their sign languages, including many endangered village sign languages. Sign language researchers provide evidence to language policy makers, and work to promote linguistic and cultural diversity to government. Sign language corpora, reference grammars and online dictionaries provide invaluable resources to sign language teachers, students and trainee interpreters. The increased understanding of sign language structure and use that comes from the work of linguists leads to improved sign language teaching resources that describe how the language is used within deaf communities. This will in turn enable us to create more reliable and valid sign language assessment instruments, for example. The greater understanding of and improved resources for sign language teaching and learning will also provide an evidence base for policy makers in supporting appropriate education, training and services for deaf children and adults. More appropriate resources for the bilingual education of deaf children and for sign language teaching interpreter training will lead to improved quality of educational and interpreting services for deaf people and provide more opportunities for self-development and employment. All of these aspects of the struggle for sign language rights are supported by the work of SLLS members.

  • 2018. Johanna Mesch, Krister Schönström. 8th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Involving the Language Community, 121-126

    This paper aims to present part of the project “From Speech to Sign – learning Swedish Sign Language as a second language” which include a learner corpus that is based on data produced by hearing adult L2 signers. The paper describes the design of corpus building and the collection of data for the Corpus in Swedish Sign Language as a Second Language (SSLC-L2). Another component of ongoing work is the creation of a specialized annotation scheme for SSLC-L2, one that differs somewhat from the annotation work in Swedish Sign Language Corpus (SSLC), where the data is based on performance by L1 signers. Also, we will account for and discuss the methodology used to annotate L2 structures.

Visa alla publikationer av Johanna Mesch vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 11 november 2019

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