Poetic images: Literature in spoken and sign languages

20Sept2018 20:00 - 21:30

Event

Event organised by Alumnikring Taalwetenschap & Alumnikring Engels. Poetry exists in many forms, including in sign languages. Two professors of language and literature will discuss similarities and differences between poetry in sign languages and spoken poetry.

What is a poem? Standard answers to this question might mention Shakespeare, sonnets, rhyme, and alliteration. But poetry exists in many forms, including in sign languages. What does sign poetry look like? Two professors of language and literature will discuss similarities and differences between poetry in sign languages and spoken poetry.

Challenging ideas

We all have an image of what a traditional poem looks like. Poems in sign languages challenge that idea. If there is no sound, can poems use rhyme? Do they make use of metaphor, or other poetic devices? Carrol Clarkson, Professor of Modern English Literature, discusses the visual properties of poetry in spoken language. Professor of Sign Linguistics Anne Baker elaborates on sign poetry, and how it differs from spoken and written poetry.

The speakers show how there is a continuum of poetic forms, ranging from traditional Shakespearean sonnets to the theatrical shows of visual vernacular. The evening culminates in a performance by Selena Waas (provisional), a professional poet in Dutch Sign Language (NGT).

Afterwards, there will be time for questions. Sign interpreters English-NGT will be present, making the evening accessible for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

Registration

Admission is free of charge.

Livestream

A livestream broadcast of the evening will be made available on the Alumnikring Taalwetenschap Facebook page.

About the speakers

Carrol Clarkson is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely on aesthetics, legal theory, and South African literature and art. Before coming to Amsterdam she was Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Anne Baker is emeritus Professor in Psycholinguistics and Sign Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. She currently works at the University of Stellenbosch as Professor Extraordinary in Sign Linguistics, and as Visiting professor of Deaf Education at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Selena Waas used to work as a teacher of Dutch Sign Language, before she became a poet, presenter and child storyteller in the same language. She offers workshops and performances for anyone interested in sign language.

Sterre Leufkens (moderator) did a PhD in theoretical and comparative linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. She now studies and teaches Dutch linguistics at Utrecht University, and publishes popular-scientific blogs, articles and books on language and linguistics.

Venue: room 1.04

Back by popular demand: this event was first organised in Spui25 on 1 March, and tickets were sold out quickly. However, due to the freezing weather at the time, not everyone was able to come.

Published by  Bureau Alumnirelaties en Universiteitsfonds