Speaker Series: Marie Coppola

Mar 20, 2014 at - | IRCS Conference Room

Marie Coppola from the University of Connecticut will be giving a talk (abstract below).


The talk will be in the IRCS Conference Room at 3:30pm and will be followed by the GradLingS reception. You must be over 21 and possess a valid ID to attend the second event.


Language, input, and cognition: Insights from homesign gesture systems and an emerging language

Researchers have long debated the relationships between linguistic input and language structure, as well as the relationships between linguistic representations and cognition. Homesign systems and and the recently emerged Nicaraguan Sign Language offer a unique window into these relationships. Homesigns are gesture systems developed by deaf individuals who are not exposed to conventional sign or spoken language input. Homesign systems exhibit a number of linguistic properties, but appear to lack others (e.g., a conventionalized lexicon), which depend on access to a linguistic model and/or interaction within a linguistic community. I will present evidence for linguistic structure in homesign, including morphophonology, morphosyntax, and narrative structure. I will also discuss the cognitive consequences (or lack thereof) of linguistic (but not social) deprivation, particularly with respect to number cognition. Finally, I will present results suggesting that the linguistic structure in homesign systems is not primarily driven by communication factors.