chapter  16
16 Pages

Work Group on Speech and Sign Language

Signed and spoken utterances have at least two aspects that are of interest to a perceiver. First of all, they have a physical aspect, the significance of which is given in the lawful relations among utterances , the information-bearing media structured by them , and the perceptual systems of observers and listeners . Second, they have a linguistic aspect, the significance of which is given in the conventional or ruleful relations between forms and meaning. 1 In part because


our time was limited, and in part because so little work has been done on the conventional significance of events, as opposed to the intrinsic significance cf. Gibson, 19662 our work group chose to focus on the physical aspect. Nevel1heless, we did have a speculative word or two to say about the origins of some linguistic conventions, and we would draw attention to the repo11 of the Event/Cognition group, as well as to Verbrugge's remarks (discussant for the address by Studdert-Kennedy), for more elaborate treatments of this important topic .