Main objectives

To design a blueprint for the creation of reference grammars of individual sign languages which is descriptively thorough and theoretically grounded, so that deaf users, policy makers and researchers of sign languages (SLs) across Europe can rely on a solid basis for their initiatives.

Secondary objectives

1. Short-term goals
• Establish and consolidate a network of European linguists working on SLs from a theoretical perspective.
• Enhance mobility of young researchers, to learn from expertise areas in other teams.
• Discuss, adapt, create and share elicitation methodologies and materials, which otherwise are created on a case-by-case basis without further evaluation of their general validity.
• Discuss empirical and theoretical results.
• Involve deaf signers as consultants and, whenever possible, as linguists, so that they become actors in the description and analysis of their own languages.
• Obtain comparative data on invariant sets of examples across SLs to form the basis of their comparative analysis.
• Guarantee the return of the acquired knowledge to the signing communities involved.

2. Long-term goals
• Help develop theoretically informed descriptive grammars of SLs, in order to lay the ground for exhaustive reference grammars. Fieldwork techniques and grammar design for un(der)documented languages will be adapted to the specificities of the visual-gestural modality.
• Disseminate the scientific and societal objectives, in order to transfer to new teams the goals, methodologies and results and their implications for policy makers.
• Contribute to the preservation of SLs.
• Share the knowledge on SL corpus development of some of the teams, to also obtain empirical data from quantitative sources.
• Broaden the empirical coverage of European SLs that can become the basis for reliable comparative work based on both modalities, thus opening avenues of international cooperation with comparable initiatives.