The iconicity in grammar and lexis of the PSL (PJM)

"The iconicity in grammar and lexis of the Polish Sign Language (PJM)" a three-year (2012-2014) grant financed by the National Science Centre.

The aim of this project is to perform a detailed and broad- based study of grammar and lexis of the Polish Sign Language (PJM). The focal point of this study is an issue that is widely discussed in modern linguistic literature- the iconicity of sign languages, which means the mimetic relation between a linguistic form and its denotation. The goal of this project is to study the extent to which iconicity can be seen as a cognitive basis for various grammatical and lexical phenomena, observed in the Polish Sign Language (PJM). The research plan includes the development of descriptive grammar of PJM and the first PJM dictionary made according to lexicographical principles and standards. Results of the research may also be revealing from the point of view of theoretical linguistics. Especially, that they can also shine light on the essence of cognitive mechanisms of iconicity, and its role in shaping linguistic structures.

One of the aims of this project is to take a look at the phenomenon of iconicity in PJM from the comparative point of view that is to confront our data with analogous descriptions of other- better studied- sign languages. It will be possible only through a planned international collaboration with other sign language research teams (that are working inter alia in Milan, Hamburg, Barcelona, and London). All of them are involved in the pan-European campaign COST IS1006, entitled “Unraveling the grammars of European sign languages: pathways to full citizenship of deaf signers and to the protection of their linguistic heritage”.