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LINGUAE Lectures 2016

Marie COPPOLA (University of Connecticut)



Dr. Coppola studies language acquisition and language creation as well as the relationship between language and cognition, as revealed by D/deaf individuals who vary in their experience with language. She is particularly interested in how early exposure to language fosters typical development in social cognition and numerical cognition.

Lectures to be held on:

- Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 11:30 - 1 pm - DEC Colloquium

Salle Jaurès, ENS 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris

The impact of language experience on the development of number representations in deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children. 

Abstract: Previous research has shown that deaf individuals who do not have access to conventional sign or spoken language have difficulty exactly representing quantities larger than 4 (Spaepen, et al. 2011). Internationally, Deaf and hard of hearing students typically lag behind their hearing classmates in mathematics achievement. There is a pressing need to ensure that these students learn mathematics and are able to advance academically with equal access to science and mathematics education. Recent research suggests that early language development affects young children's cognitive representations of numbers and their number vocabulary. A delay in language exposure, which occurs for more than 90% of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, may negatively impact number development. It is also unknown whether children who acquire sign language early in life follow similar trajectories of development as do hearing children. I will report on the early stages of research examining how language experiences affects the development of number representations, symbols and words. Project activities will also include studies about how parents and children can be trained to improve number learning. Results are expected to provide information to parents, educators and researchers about how to help deaf or hard of hearing children learn number concepts to promote mathematical development. I will also discuss recent and ongoing research in our lab examining the effects of severe language deprivation on social cognition and executive functioning. These results will have implications for theory as well as for practice. 

- Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 11:30 - 1 pm -  LINGUAE Seminar

Salle Langevin, ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005.

Unexpected routes to language: Evidence from child and adult homesign systems

Abstract: Many trajectories of emerging language systems assume the development of a conventional lexicon as a starting point, subsequent development of morphological and syntactic structure, and the possibility of never developing relatively more arbitrary structure such as phonology. I will discuss three types of recent evidence from child and adult homesign systems, comparing them with early cohorts of signers of an emerging language which do benefit from a linguistic model and a linguistic community. 1) At the lexical level, a fully connected social network, vs. one in which all individuals do not interact with each other, hastens conventionalization of lexical items. 2) The emergence of morphophonological contrasts (in terms of the distribution of complexity of finger configurations) precedes morphosyntactic oppositions (in terms of the mapping of handshape type to the presence/absence of an agent) in both child and adult homesign systems. Finally, I will discuss how the absence of a language model and linguistic community has a negative impact on narrative abilities in people who are cognitively mature and have extensive life experience. Taken together, these results suggest that the progression of linguistic organization at various levels interacts with the presence of a language model, interaction within the context of a linguistic community, as well as the structure of interactions between and among users.

Website : The Annual LINGUAE Lectures