Sign CAFÉ 1

Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research
Monday 30th (09:00) - Tuesday 31st July 2018 (17:00)
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The first international workshop on cognitive and functional explorations in sign language linguistics

The University of Birmingham is hosting the first international workshop on cognitive and functional approaches to sign language linguistics, or Sign CAFÉ 1. We hope that this workshop will become a regular forum to discuss approaches towards sign language linguistics in the cognitive/functional linguistics tradition. Broadly defined, cognitive/functional perspectives in the language sciences emphasise that language as a means of communication, as a type of social action, and its relationship to other cognitive systems are all crucial to the understanding of language structure. Our definition includes a wide range of theoretical approaches, but they each have in common the importance they place on the role of communication and cognition in both linguistic theory and description. 

Invited speakers will be:

  • Elisabeth Engberg-Pedersen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Nick Palfreyman, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Corrine Occhino, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

The official languages of the conference will be English and International Sign (IS), with British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL) as additional languages. We will provide interpreting between English and IS. We may be able to offer interpretation between signed presentations in BSL or ASL and IS/English (please contact the organiser if you would like to express an interest in this option).

Call for papers

Sign CAFÉ 1 invites unpublished papers addressing any aspect of sign language research from any cognitive/functional theoretical perspective, including work on phonetics, phonology, lexicon, grammar, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, as well as on gesture studies, language evolution, first or second language acquisition, sociolinguistic variation and change, linguistic typology, neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics.

We plan to have signed/spoken presentations (25 minutes and 10 minutes discussion) as well as two poster sessions. As there will only be a single stream of signed/spoken presentations, it is likely that the majority of presentations will be posters.

Abstracts should be submitted in pdf format through the Sign CAFÉ 1 Easychair website.

Abstracts should be anonymised (with no author names in the text). The anonymous abstract should include the title and indicate whether it is intended for poster or signed/spoken presentation. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words (including tables, examples and references), in 12-point font, single line spacing and 2.5 cm margins. 

Video submission in IS, BSL or ASL is allowed (maximum length 5 minutes). Those who would like to submit a video in sign language should contact the Sign CAFÉ 1 organiser

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Sign CAFÉ 1 Programme Committee. A maximum of two submissions (one of which must be co-authored) can be submitted by any single individual.

Deadline for submission: 26 March, 2018

Notification of acceptance/rejection: 26 April, 2018


Sign CAFÉ 1 Programme Committee

  • Calle Börstell, Univeristy of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Olga Capirci, The Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Italy
  • Maria Del Carmen Cabeza Pereiro, University of Vigo, Spain
  • Kearsy Cormier, Univeristy College London, UK
  • Jordan Fenlon, Heriot-Watt University, UK
  • Lindsay Ferrara, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • José Garcia-Miguel, University of Vigo, Spain
  • Brigitte Garcia, Univeristy of Paris 8, France
  • Gabrielle Hodge, University College London, UK
  • Lynn Hou, University of California San Diego, USA
  • Tommi J. Jantunen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Terry Janzen, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • Trevor A. Johnston, Macquarie University, Australia
  • Lorraine Leeson, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Ryan Lepic, University of Chicago, USA
  • Johanna Mesch, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Laurence Meurant, University of Namur, Belgium
  • Anna-Lena Nilsson, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • Gerardo Ortega, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
  • David Quinto-Pozos, University of Texas Austin, USA
  • Luke A. Rudge, University of the West of England, UK
  • Marie-Anne Sallandre, University of Paris 8, France
  • Barbara Shaffer, University of New Mexico, USA
  • Beyza Sumer, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands
  • Robin Thompson, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Myriam Vermeerbergen, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Miako Villaneuva, Gallaudet University, USA
  • Erin Wilkinson, University of Manitoba, Canada


Register for the Sign CAFÉ 1 workshop at our online shop.


There are many accommodation venues that would be suitable and may have availability for the summer school.

Venue and Travel

All workshop sessions will take place in the Arts Building on the University of Birmingham Campus. Discover the latest information about travelling to the University of Birmingham.

Food and Drinks

The Sign CAFÉ  1 registration fee includes refreshments and lunch, but does not include breakfast or evening meals. Discover a list of restaurants in the local area.