Research by Topic
'what' signs in ASL
ASL has at least four different manual signs that can be translated in English as 'what'. What are the functions of these signs? With Lynn Hou and Erin Wilkinson, I have been using internet videos to examine this family of signs and how they are used.
👨💻 Wilkinson, Lepic, and Hou (2022). Investigating the distribution and functions in the family of 'what'-signs in American Sign Language. Poster at LSA-96 in Washington DC.
👨💻 Hou, Lepic, and Wilkinson (2021). What's in a WHAT? Presentation at HDLS-14.
Construction grammarians research how "chunks" of language become associated with specific meanings or discourse functions. Regardless of whether they are words, phrases, or co-speech gestures, these conventional pairings of function and form are all analyzed as constructions.
Usage-Based Construction Grammar
There are very few studies of sign language structure in a construction-theoretic framework. My research analyzes ASL constructions from a usage-based perspective.
🔖 Lepic (2019). A usage-based alternative to "lexicalization" in sign language linguistics. (presented at ICCG-10 in Paris)
🔖 Lepic and Occhino (2018). A Construction Morphology approach to sign language analysis. (presented at UKCLC-6 in Bangor and LSA-91 in Austin)
ASL is under-described. I am interested in documenting the variety of morphosyntactic structures that appear in ASL discourse from a functional-typological perspective.
👨💻 Hou and Lepic (2022). "Modeling the family of LOOK-AT signs as a network of associations". Poster at TISLR-14 in Osaka.
👨💻 Lepic (2021). "Verb morphology in ASL". Invited presentation at AIMM-5. Link to virtual presentation.
👨💻 Hou and Lepic (2018). "When looks count: the function and distribution of LOOK-AT in American Sign Language". Presented at LSA-92 in Salt Lake City.
👨💻 Lepic (2017). "A usage-based analysis of the THEME construction in ASL". Poster at LSA-91 in Austin.
👨💻 Lepic (2016). "Motivating the THEME construction in ASL". Presented at HDLS-12 in Albuquerque.
Variation in New Words
Morphologists study the systematic variation of meaning and form among the words of a language. I'm interested in what new words can tell us about about languages as complex systems that are used in a variety of contexts.
We very rarely make new words completely from scratch. My research examines our tendency to re-use parts of words we know in order to create or understand new constructions.
👨💻 Lepic (2013). "Will it blend? A role for phonology in determining constituent order". Presented at AIMM-2 in San Diego.
Language Contact and Borrowing
Multilingualism is the norm, world-wide. My research analyzes the structural and social consequences of contact between American Sign Language and English.
🔖 Lepic (2021). From letters to families: Initialized signs in American Sign Language. (presented at TISLR-11 in London and ICCG-10 in Paris)
👨💻 Lepic (2020). "English compound translations in American Sign Language". Poster at LSA-94 in New Orleans.
👨💻 Lepic (2018). "Show or Tell?: English compounds in American Sign Language". Presented at HDLS-13 in Albuquerque.
Linguistic myths and misconceptions can only be dispelled through primary research. I'm interested in the kinds of data that can address the question of how constructions work.
👨💻 Hou et al. (2022). Where do we go from here? Faculty placement of deaf linguists in US PhD programs. Poster at LSA-96 in Washington DC.
🔖 Hou et al. (2020). Working with ASL internet data. (see also Hou et al. 2022; presented at LSA-96 in Washington DC)
🔖 Lepic (2016). The great ASL compound hoax. (presented at HDLS-11 in Albuquerque)
🔖 Namboodiripad et al. (2016). Measuring conventionalization in the manual modality. (presented at EvoLang-11 in New Orleans)
🔖 Lepic (2015). English particle verbs: Evidence from acceptability judgments.
Sign Language and Gesture
We all use our languages for the same sorts of communicative purposes, but languages accomplish similar functions in different ways. I'm interested in how different languages and individual language users get things done.
Signing and gesturing populations use iconic "handling" and "instrument" forms when referring to handheld tools, and ASL signers use handling and instrument forms to distinguish verbs from nouns. Signers and gestures also use embodied iconic strategies when referring to items in other semantic categories.
🔖 Hwang et al. (2017). Of the hands and of the body: Patterned iconicity for semantic categories. (presented at CSDL-12 in Santa Barbara and ISGS-6 in San Diego)
🔖 Padden et al. (2015). Tools for language: Patterned iconicity in sign language nouns and verbs. (presented at LSA-88 in Minneapolis)
🔖 Padden et al. (2013). Patterned iconicity in sign language lexicons.
Motivated Use of the Body
Signers of different languages use their two hands to show relationships between entities and the plurality inherent to certain concepts. Related signs also make systematic, motivated use of vertical signing space, across sign languages.
🔖 Börstell and Lepic (2020). Spatial metaphors in antonym pairs across sign languages.
🔖 Börstell et al. (2016). Articulatory plurality is a property of lexical plurals in sign language. (presented at TISLR-12 in Melbourne)
🔖 Lepic et al. (2016). Taking meaning in hand: Iconic motivations in two-handed signs. (presented at TISLR-11 in London)
Comparison Across Modalities
By comparing the productions of signers and gesturers on similar tasks, we can understand how linguistic structures change with use. Conversely, sign language linguistics can also inform the kinds of questions we ask about about gesture.
👨💻 Lepic et al. (2018). "Timing matters: Gestures preceding or occurring with speech facilitate math learning". Presented at ISGS-8 in Cape Town.
👨💻 Verhoef et al. (2018). "Non-signers are sensitive to verb and noun encoding in sign languages". Presented at ISGS-8 in Cape Town and EvoLang-13* in Brussels.
🔖 Meir et al. (2017). The effect of being human and the basis of grammatical word order: Insights from novel communication systems and young sign languages.
👨💻 Lepic et al. (2016). "Repetition and reduction in silent gesture: Evidence from body tracking". Presented at ISGS-7 in Paris.