When referents are seen and heard: A comparative study of constructed action in the discourse of LSFB (French Belgian Sign Language) signers and Belgian French speakers

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Constructed action is a referential strategy whereby signers and speakers use their bodies and/or voices to depict referents and their actions. Using a corpus-based study, this chapter compares constructed action in LSFB and Belgian French. It shows both that LSFB signers use constructed action to denote referents more frequently than Belgian French speakers do and that the two language communities use an overlapping set of articulators to enact referents. However, it also sheds light on differences in the use of these articulators, notably facial expression and the use of hand and arm movements, across LSFB and Belgian French. By documenting this referential strategy in a signed and a spoken language, this study informs the field of comparative semiotics.
Translated title of the contributionQuand on entend et voit les référents: Une étude comparative de l'action construite dans le discours des signeurs de la LSFB (Langue des Signes de Belgique francophone) et des francophones de Belgique
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Language Companion Series
Subtitle of host publicationFrom conventions to pragmatics
EditorsLaure Gardelle, Laurence Vincent-Durroux, Hélène Vinckel-Roisin
Pages127 - 149
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameStudies in Language Companion Series
ISSN (Print)0165-7763


  • comparative semiotics
  • corpus linguistics
  • gesture
  • multimodal
  • signed language

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