drs. V. (Vadim) Kimmelman

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap
  • Spuistraat  210
    1012 VT  Amsterdam
  • V.Kimmelman@uva.nl

About me

I studied linguistics in Russia (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow) and in the Netherlands (MA program "'General linguistics"). Several years ago I got interested in sign languages and especially in finding those properties of Language that are shared by signed and spoken languages, which I am trying to do based on the data from Russian Sign Language (RSL) and Sign Language of the Netherland (NGT). See below for my project description.

Apart from sign languages, I enjoy linguistic fieldwork. Thank to RSUH, I had a great opportunity to participate in several expeditions studying Adyghe, a very complex and mysterious language spoken in Adyghea (Russia).

My project

My PhD project is called "Information structure in Sign Language of the Netherlands and Russian Sign Language". The project's goal is to analyze the means of expressing Information Structure in the two unrelated sign languages, and to test different formal theories of Information Structure on these data. The research is both empirical (data collection and description) and theoretical (interpretation of data within theoretical models) in nature. In the empirical part, I will provide descriptions of grammatical mechanisms for expressing Information Structure in the two sign languages under investigation. Since all of the influential formal theories of Information Structure have been developed based on spoken language data, it is necessary to investigate whether they can also accommodate data from sign languages. Therefore, in the theoretical part of the investigation I will consider which of the available theories can be most successfully applied to sign languages. It may well be the case that certain properties of Information Structure in sign languages cannot be accommodated by any of the available theories. In that case, I would have to include suggestions for modifications which allow for a modality-neutral account of Information Structure. For more details see the proposal file below.

My research supervisors are prof. dr. Anne E. Baker  and dr. Roland Pfau.

Previous research

My previous research is connected to three different areas: sign languages (especially, Russian Sign Language), Adyghe and Information Structure (in Russian).

I have studied negation in RSL (syntax and non-regular negation), parts of speech in RSL, reflexive pronouns in RSL and NGT and, most recently, basic word order in RSL. I have investigated grammaticalization of stative predicates, adverbs and auxiliaries in Adyghe. As for information structure, I spent some time analyzing cleft constructions in Russian. See also the tab with publications and CV.  

Research interests (keywords)

Sign Languages, Russian Sign Language, Sign Language of the Netherlands, Nederlandse Gebarentaal, Information Structure, Grammaticalization, Adyghe, Binding Theory, Russian

To appear

(together with R. Pfau). Information Structure in Sign Languages. to appear in Fery, C. & S. Ishihara (eds.), The Oxford handbook on information structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See below. 

«Multiple tiers, multiple trees». To appear in CLS 49 proceedings.   


“Doubling in RSL and NGT: a pragmatic account”. In M. Balbach, L. Benz, S. Genzel, M. Grubic, A. Renans, S. Schalowski, M. Stegenwallner & A. Zeldes (Eds.), Information Structure: Empirical Perspectives on Theory Vol. 17. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure: ISIS: working papers of the SFB 632 (pp. 99-118). Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam. (see below)

“Review of ‘Clefts and their relatives’ by M. Reeve”. In Journal of Slavic Linguistics 21(2), 317-340. 


M. Aloni, V. Kimmelman, F. Roelofsen, G. Weidman Sassoon, K. Schulz, & M. Westera (eds) 2012, Logic, Language and Meaning - 18th Amsterdam Colloquium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, December 19-21, 2011, Revised Selected Papers. Dordrecht: Springer

"Doubling in Russian Sign Language and Sign Language of the Netherlands: looking for a unified account " Proceedings of IATL 27 , MITWPL, pp 57-81. (see below)

Word order in RSL. An extended report. Linguistics in Amsterdam 5(1), 1-59. See link below. "Word order in Russian Sign Language" Sign Language Studies 12(3 ), 414-445.


Review of ''Sign Languages.'' Ed. by Diane Brentari. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Voprosy Jazykoznanija  2011, vol. 4: 135-143.   (In Russian). See a non-final version below.

Binding Theory and Sign Languages. In D.V. Gerasimov (Ed.), ACTA LINGUISTICA PETROPOLITANA (pp. 88-92). Saint Petersburg: Nauka. (In Russian)   


Review of "Cross-linguistic Semantics of Tense, Aspect, and Modality", eds. Lotte Hogeweg, Helen de Hoop and Andrej Malchukov (2010). Voprosy Jazykoznanija , 6. Pp 138-145. (in Russian)


«Parts of speech in Russian Sign Language: The role of iconicity and economy» in Sign Language &Linguistics 12:2 (2009), pp. 161-186

«On the interpretation of èto in so-called èto-clefts» in Zybatow, Gerhild; Lenertová, Denisa; Junghanns, Uwe; Biskup, Petr   (eds.) (2009):Studies in Formal Slavic Phonology, Morphology,Syntax, Semantics and Information Structure: Proceedings of FDSL 7, Leipzig   2007. Frankfurt : Peter Lang, pp. 319-329


«Historical Changes of signs in Russian Sign Language» Abstract at the Conference on Typology and Grammar, St Petersburg (in Russian) See below.

«Irregular Negation in Russian SignLanguage» Proceedings of MSCL-2, Moscow (in Russian) See below.


«Grammaticalization of Stative Predicates in Adyghe» Proceedings of the Field Research of the students of RSUH , Moscow (In Russian) See a non-final version below.


"Reflexive pronouns in Russian Sign Language and Sign Language of the Netherlands". MA thesis, Universiteit van Amsterdam 2009.

(together with Pavel Rudnev) ''Breaking the Coreference Rule.'' See below.

"Basic word order in Russian Sign Language", Thesis, Russian State University for the Humanities (in Russian) 2010.

"Auxiliaries in Adyghe". Fieldwork Report. Moscow - Amsterdam 2010.

Upcoming presentations

«Weak hand holds and types of Merge.» At Venice Feast Colloquium, Venice, June 9-11.

«Focus in Russian Sign Language.» At Linguistic Rights of the Deaf 2, Moscow, May 20-22.


«Focus in Russian Sign Language.» Linguistic Evidence 2014, Tübingen, February 13-15. 


«Information Structure in RSL and NGT» SLLS Festa, Osaka, September 27-29 (invited) 

Topics in RSL and NGT: how prominent are they? At TISLR 11, London, July 10-13, 2013. 

Topics in Sign Language of the Netherlands: insights from a corpus study . At Workshop on Information Structure in Spoken Language Corpora. Bielefeld, June 10-12, 2013.  

(together with Anna Sáfár) Weak hand holds in two sign languages. At Language Fest, April 27, University of Connecticut. See poster below. 

Multiple tiers, multiple trees. Weak hand holds in Russian Sign Language. At Chicago Linguistic Society Meeting, April 18-21, University of Chicago. See slides below. 

(together with Anna Sáfár) Manual holds: an analysis of two sign languages and two genres. At DGFS: Linguistic Foundations of Narration in Spoken and Sign Language. March 13-15, 2013


Weak hand preservation in RSL (in Russian). At Linguistic studies of Russian Sign Language . Moscow, November 17, 2012. See presentation below. Information structure categories: evidence from sign languages. At C ategories of Information Structure Across Languages . Nijmegen, November 9-10, 2012 See presentation below.
(together with Roland Pfau) "Information Structure in Sign Languages". OUPIS workshop, Frankfurt, May 10-11. 


"Doubling in two sign languages: a pragmaticaccount". Information Structure: Empirical Perspectives on Theory. University of Potsdam, December 2-3.
"Doubling in RSL and NGT: a unified account." IATL, Haifa, October 24-25. 

Doubling in RSL and NGT:form and function. At NAP-dag, Amsterdam, October 7. (see presentation below)

(together with Pavel Rudnev) Russian Sign Language Pronouns, Indexicality and the Signing Space. At "The world of reflexives" workshop, Utrecht, August 25-26.

"Binding Theory and Sign Languages: the role of  signing space". VeniceFEAST, June 20-22, 2011 (see presentation below)

"Word order in Russian Sign Language". Sign Language Colloquium, Nijmegen, May 24, 2011 (see presentation below)
"Auxiliaries in Adyghe". Conference on Caucasian Languages, Leipzig, May 13-15, 2011 (see handout below)
"Binding theory, ambiguity and sign languages". At the 12th Szklarska Poreba Workshop, March 11-15, 2011 (see presentation below).


"Word orderin Russian Sign Language". At Colloquium on Sign Language Issues, UvA, December 14t. See link to presentation below.

"Auxiliaries in Adyghe". Workshop on grammaticalization, November 10, UvA. See handout below.

«Reflexive pronouns in Russian Sign Language and Sign Language of the Netherlands: modality anduniversals » (poster) Theoretical Issue in Sign Language Linguistics (TISLR 10), Purdue University, September 30 - October 2.

« Breaking the co-reference rule» (togetherwith Pavel Rudnev)Peculiar Binding Configurations, University of Stuttgart, September 24-25.


« Binding theory and Sign Languages» (in Russian)  6th Conference on Typology andGrammar, St. Petersburg , November26-28.

«Reflexive pronouns in Russian Sign Language» (poster) Symposium «From gesture to sign: pointing in oral and signed languages», Lille ,June 4-5

«Russian grammar features in Russian Sign Language discourse» (poster) International Conference on Minority Languages XII «Language contact and change in multiply and multimodally bilingual minority situations »,Tartu, May 28-30


«Poetry and prose: semantic experiment» (in Russian) IX International Conference «Slavic poetry: prosody and linguistics», Moscow , June 23-29

«Nouns and Verbs in Russian Sign Language: Phonology andLexicon» 3rd Annual Moscow  Student Conference on Linguistics, April 17-18


«On the interpretationof èto in so-called èto-clefts» FDSL-7, Leipzig , December 1-3

«Historical Changes of signs in Russian Sign Language» (inRussian) 4th Conferenceon Typology andGrammar, St. Petersburg , November1-3

«Irregular Negation in Russian Sign Language» (in Russian) Moscow Student ConferenceonLinguistics, April 13

«Syntactic Features ofNegation in Russian Sign language» (in Russian) Student Conference «Syntactic Structures», Moscow , April 5-6


«Grammaticalization of Stative Predicates in Adyghe» (in Russian) Field Research of the students of RSUH, Moscow , December 14

«Grammaticalization of Stative Predicates in Adyghe» (poster, in Russian), 3rd Conference on Typology and Grammar, St Petersburg , November1-3

Меня зовут Вадим Киммельман, и я изучаю жестовые языки.

Когда я начал заниматься лингвистикой, я задумался о том, что жестовые языки тоже являются языками, и интересно изучать их с лингвистической точки зрения. Конечно, скоро я выяснил, что я не первый, кому пришла в голову эта идея, однако русский жестовый язык действительно является малоизученным. Я начал учить жестовый язык, на курсах в центре имени Зайцевой (см. ссылку ниже), и понял, что РЖЯ очень красивый, сложный и интересный с точки зрения грамматики.

Я написал несколько работ о русском жестовом языке, например, о порядке слов и о частях речи в РЖЯ, а также о нидерландском жестовом языке. Сейчас я являюсь аспирантом в Университете Амстердама, где я изучаю коммуникативную структуру в русском и нидерландском жестовых языках. На этой странице вы можете увидеть и скачать некоторые мои публикации и презентации о жестовых языках на русском языке, а также ссылки на полезные сайты по русском (и другим) жестовым языкам. 

Кроме того, я пишу популярные статьи, посвящённые (психо)лингвистике жестовых языков. Ссылки на эти статьи можно найти ниже.

Популярные статьи



Рабочая память

Никарагуанский жестовый язык

Усвоение языка

Научные публикации

(здесь содержатся только публикации на русском языке; публикации на английском языке находятся на соседней вкладке)

2011. «Рецензия на книгу " Sign Languages " (жестовые языки), ред. D . Brentari ». Вопросы языкознания 2011 , 4: 135-143. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)

2010. «Порядок слов в русском жестовом языке». Дипломная работа, РГГУ. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)

2007. «Исторические изменения в русском жестовом языке».Тезисы Конференции по Типологии иГрамматике, Санкт-Петербург. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)

«Нерегулярное отрицание в русском жестовом языке». Материалы конференции МСКЛ-2, Москва. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)


2012 "Удержание пассивной руки в РЖЯ: синтаксис и прагматика". Первая лингвистическая конференция по РЖЯ. Москва, 17 ноября. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)
2011. «Лингвистика и жестовые языки». Презентация на курсах повышения квалификации переводчиков, РГСУ. Общая презентация для нелингвистов (ссылка на скачивание ниже) 

2009. «Теория связывания и жестовые языки». Конференция по Типологии и Грамматике, Санкт-Петербург. (ссылка на скачивание ниже)


www . signlang . ru - сайт с материалами порусскомужестовому языку. На нём в частности можнопрочитатьпочти все работы, написанные о грамматике РЖЯ в последнее время, а также новости из мира глухих и т.д.

http://vkontakte.ru/club18335384 - группа Вконтакте «Центра имени Зайцевой», который организует курсы РЖЯ в Москве.

www . s preadthesign.com - сайт, на котором можно сравнивать жесты разных жестовых языков; РЖЯ там тоже представлен

http://surdoserver.ru/ - сайт со словарём РЖЯ


  • V. Kimmelman (2013). Doubling in RSL and NGT: a pragmatic account. In M. Balbach, L. Benz, S. Genzel, M. Grubic, A. Renans, S. Schalowski, M. Stegenwallner & A. Zeldes (Eds.), Information Structure: Empirical Perspectives on Theory Vol. 17. Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure (pp. 99-118). Potsdam: Universitätsverlag Potsdam.[go to publisher's site]




  • V.I. Kimmelman (2011). Teorija svjazyvanija i žestovye jazyki. In D.V. Gerasimov (Ed.), Materialy Šestoj Konferencii po Tipologii i Grammatike dlja Molodych Issledovatelej: (2009 g.) Vol. 7. Acta linguistica Petropolitana (pp. 88-92). Sankt-Peterburg: Nauka.


  • V. Kimmelman (2013). [Review of the book Clefts and their relatives]. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, 21(2), 317-340.


  • V.I. Kimmelman (2011). [Review of the book Sign languages]. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2011/4, 135-143.


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