Research & Scholarly Achievement
at Gallaudet University

Linguistics

The Department of Linguistics is heavily dependent on research for both learning and teaching because sign language linguistics is a field that has so much more to discover. The ongoing, innovative research carried out by the linguistics faculty and graduate students is contributing substantially to what is known about the structure and use of sign languages.


The Influence of Language on Cognitive Development

ID: 3595
Status: Ongoing
Start date: August 2018
End Date: June 2023

Description

This project investigates the impact of varying language experiences (language deprivation, emerging language environments, full language exposure) on cognitive abilities such as social cognition (Theory of Mind, Socio-cognitive responsiveness), Executive Functioning (working memory, inhibitory control), and Spatial Cognition. Participants include infants and adults in the United States, children and adults in Nicaragua, and children and adults in Peru.

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L2 Acquisition of ASL in M1 and M2 Contexts.

ID: 3435
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2015

Description

We are proposing a longitudinal study of the acquisition of ASL as a second language, including both hearing (M1) and Deaf (M2) learners. There has recently been a surge in research interest on the acquisition of sign language as a second language. However, the data from recent publications come from sign<naïve subjects who are not actually learning a sign language. Furthermore, little research exists on L2 sign acquisition by Deaf learners who have already acquired an L1 sign language. The proposed study follows actual M1 and M2 L2 learners before and after their first intensive ASL class, documenting their lexical, phonological, and syntactic development at the very beginning stages of L2 acquisition of ASL. We will run a small battery of linguistic tests on students just prior to and at the end of 2< week summer Professional Studies courses held at Gallaudet. This will yield a modest body of data from which we can test claims from the recent L2 (sign and spoken) literature, and eventually compare against sign acquisition patterns from M1L2 learners, to be collected the following summer. Analysis of these data will allow exploration of the role of modality in L2 learning for both experienced and inexperienced signers, and pedagogical implications for different types of learners (M1F vs. M2; spoken language L2 vs. sign language L2).

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Language Emergence, Evolution, and Acquisition

ID: 3593
Status: Ongoing
Start date: August 2018
End Date: January 2025

Description

This is an ongoing project investigating the structures that emerge in newly-formed sign languages (e.g., Nicaraguan Sign Language) across dimensions such as phonology, morphology, syntax, and discourse. Factors including social network size (number and type of interlocutors) and the bi-directional influence of cognition and language are investigated as contributing (or not) to language emergence.

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Products

Gagne, D., Senghas, A., & Coppola, M. (2017, November). Peer interaction is necessary for full conventionalization of space in an emerging language: Evidence from hearing children of Nicaraguan signers. Presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA.


Philadelphia signs

ID: 2910
Status: Completed
Start date: August 2015
End Date: November 2018

Description

The purpose of this study is to collect interviews of native deaf Philadelphians in order to capture the Philadelphia ASL dialect for language documentation.

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Products

 

Fisher, J.;Tamminga, M.; Hochgesang, J.A. (2018). The historical and social context of the Philadelphia ASL Community. Sign Language Studies 18(3) 429-460. DOI: 10.1353/sls.2018.0010. 


The semantics of space in Sign and Gesture

ID: 3594
Status: Ongoing
Start date: August 2018
End Date: December 2020

Description

We investigate the various ways that space can be used to indicate the quantity or size of the domain across various structures in sign (verbs, quantifiers, pronouns). This is an international investigation, pulling together data from Japanese Sign Language, American Sign Language, and Nicaraguan Sign Language. We compare and contrast the results of this use of space to those used by hearing, non-signing gesturers in each of those countries/cultures to understand the elements of spatial productions that may be universal (given general human cognition) versus those that are language - or culture - specific.

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Sign Language Annotation, Archiving and Sharing (SLAASh)

ID: 2617
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2014
End Date: August 2019

Description

SLAASh focuses on the construction of infrastructure to support the archiving and distribution of sign language corpora, focusing upon previously collected longitudinal samples of the development of child ASL. It is also developing the ASL Signbank, an online resource to maintain ID glosses, unique identifiers for signs that enable machine-readability that also serves as a lexical database in which information is stored about each sign. ASL Signbank can be used to create a continually-updated ECV for ELAN (meaning that people who annotate ASL videos can use ASL Signbank and don't need to create their own).

Principal investigators

Additional investigators

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Funding sources

Products

Hochgesang, J.A. (2017, October 9). Making sense of real data: Considering usage-based approaches during the analysis of lemmas in ASL data. Opening conference presentation for “SIGN8 International Conference for Sign Language Users”. Florianópolis, SC, Brazil, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina.

Hochgesang, J.A. (May, 2018). SLAAASh and the ASL Deaf Communities (or “so many gifs!”). Presentation at Involving the Language Community: The 8th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages. 11th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2018, Miyazaki, Japan.

Hochgesang, J.A. Crasborn, O. Lillo-Martin, D. (2017) ASL Signbank. New Haven, CT: Haskins Lab, Yale University. https://aslsignbank.haskins.yale.edu/

Hochgesang, J.A., Crasborn, O., Lillo-Martin, D. (2018). Building the ASL Signbank: Lemmatization Principles for ASL In Involving the Language Community Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages. Ed by E. Efthimiou, E. Fotinea, T. Hanke, J. Hochgesang, J. Kristoffersen, & J. Mesch (Eds). 69-74. 

Hochgesang, J.A., O. Crasborn, D. Lillo-Martin. (May, 2018). Building the ASL Signbank: Lemmatization Principles for ASL. Poster presentation at Involving the Language Community Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages. 11th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2018, Miyazaki, Japan.


Scholarship and creative activity

2015

Torres Méndez, C. (2015, July). Let the deaf be heard in the English class. Presented at the Studies in Applied English Linguistics Conference, Seville, Spain.

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