Josep Quer Villanueva

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


As ICREA Research Professor, I am member of the "Grup de Lingüística Formal" (GLiF) at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences (UPF) since January 2009 and head of the LSC Lab (Laboratori de llengua de signes catalana). In 2007-2008 I was professor and chair of Romance Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam and previously I was ICREA Research Professor at the Department of General Linguistics of the University of Barcelona (2002-2006). In that period I set up a new research project on the formal study of sign languages, both with a focus on the morphosyntax and semantics of Catalan Sign Language (LSC) and on crosslinguistic and crossmodal research. I led the research group that published the first comprehensive grammatical description of LSC. I obtained my PhD in Linguistics at Utrecht University in 1998 with a dissertation on the semantics of mood. I am co-editor of the journal Sign Language & Linguistics.

Research interests

Research into natural language can no longer ignore sign languages as manifestations of the same innate human faculty realized in a different perceptual-articulatory modality. As a formal linguist, my research has focused on the analysis of a range of phenomena (negation, agreement, quantification, etc.) that hinge on the interaction between different grammar components (morphosyntax, semantics, prosody) both in spoken and sign languages. The goal is to better understand the division of labour across different grammar modules.

Selected publications

Quer J 2018, ‘On categorizing types of role shift in Sign languages‘, Theoretical Linguistics, 44, 3-4, 277 – 282.

– Barberà G & Quer J 2018, ‘Nominal referential values of semantic classifiers and role shift in signed narratives‘, in Linguistic foundations of narration in spoken and sign languages, eds. Huebl A & Steinbach M, 251-274. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

– Barberà G, Cabredo Hofherr P & Quer J 2018, ‘Agent-backgrounding in Catalan Sign Language (LSC)‘, Sign Language & Linguistics, 21.2: 335-349.

Quer J 2018, ‘Les llengues de signes, fetes visibles‘, Llengua, Societat i Comunicació, 16: 1-5.

Quer J (editor) 2018, ‘Les llengües de signes, fetes visibles‘, Llengua, Societat i Comunicació, 16.

– Sánchez Amat J & Quer J 2018, ‘El desenvolupament de les llengües de signes‘, in Aparici Aznar M & Igualada A (eds.), El desenvolupament del llenguatge i de la comunicació, 221-237. Barcelona: FUOC.

– Anastasopoulos A, Lekakou M, Quer J, Zimianiti E, DeBenedetto J & Chiang D 2018, ‘Part-of-Speech Tagging on an Endangered Language: A Parallel Griko-Italian Resource‘, COLING 2018, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 20-26. Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, 2529–2539.