Dr. Roland Pfau is an Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He studied German literature and linguistics in Frankfurt (Germany) and received his PhD there in 2001, researching spontaneous slips of the tongue. He has taught Sing Language Linquistics at the UvA since 2001. His research mostly focusses on the grammar of sign languages and linguistic typology, the study of structural differences and similarities between languages. He is fascinated by the question of how similar sign languages and spoken languages are, and to what extent sign languages vary among themselves in relation to certain grammatical phenomena (like the order of signs within a sentence, or how negation is expressed). Roland recently published The Linguistics of Sign Languages. An Introduction with Dutch colleagues. He is currently working on a project concerning verbs in Dutch, German and Russian sign language, as well as a project on the linguistic and cultural heritage of older sign language users in the Netherlands. Roland Pfau is one of the editors of the journal Sign Language & Linguistics.
A selection of his publications
- Pfau, R. (2010). Handwaving & headshaking? On the linguistic structure of sign languages. In J. Martí i Castell & J. M. Mestres i Serra (eds.). Les llengües de signes com a llengües minoritàries: Perspectives lingüístiques, socials i polítiques: actes del seminari del CUMIPB-CEL 2008 (pp. 59-84). Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans.
- Perniss, P., Pfau, R., & Steinbach, M. (2007). Can't you see the difference? Sources of variation in sign language structure. In P. Perniss, R. Pfau & M. Steinbach (eds.). Visible Variation: Comparative Studies on Sign Language Structure (Trends in Linguistics, 188) (pp. 1-34). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Pfau, R. (2008). The grammar of headshake: a typological perspective on German Sign Language negation. Linguistics in Amsterdam, 1(1), 37-74.