Linguistics


Bimodal Bilingual Code-blending: Language Synthesis

ID: 4016
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2019
End Date: December 2021

Description

The project investigates the mental language faculty from the perspective of bimodal bilingualism, or bilingualism in a sign language and a spoken language. The project studies the language of American adults with normal hearing who grew up in households with at least one Deaf parent using sign language (such adults are known as Codas), and so they learned both spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) together. Some of the studies will involve Deaf native signers to provide a comparison baseline against which the ASL performance of the Codas is measured. The main focus of the proposed project is to investigate code-blending, the simultaneous production of (parts of) a proposition in both sign and speech, with the goal of refining a previously proposed theoretical model, the Language Synthesis model. Data will be collected using experiments that include interviews, narrative production, elicitation, and grammaticality judgments. We will also use the data to see whether Codas behave linguistically as Heritage language users, whose home language is different from the dominant community language.

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Approved Products

2020

Lillo-Martin, D., Müller de Quadros, R., Bobaljik, J. D., Gagne, D., Kwok, L., Laszakovits, S., & Mafra, M. (2020) Constraints on Code-blending: Evidence from Acceptability Judgments. Talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. New Orleans, Louisiana.


Characterizing Deaf Children’s Early Communication Services: An Online Parent Survey

ID: 4022
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: March 2020
End Date: December 2021

Description

Language deprivation among deaf children is a serious issue, leading the U.S. government to establish the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program. In spite of these efforts, Gallaudet’s most recent survey of deaf children and youth from 2013 reports that almost 7,000 deaf children had not been identified via newborn hearing screening. This suggests that EHDI’s screening and follow-up reports do not capture the current number of children requiring and receiving early intervention services. To understand this better, the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) surveyed families of deaf or hard of hearing children to better understand the early intervention experiences that they receive. However, this data was only a snapshot of parent perceptions of the early intervention system and only surveyed families from 10 states. Therefore, only limited or outdated data exists; a more current and comprehensive data set is needed. This survey will elicit parent/guardian ratings of early intervention experiences and bring into focus unnoticed gaps in the early identification system across the United States. Upon survey completion, this data will be available for service providers and researchers as a valuable resource for understanding the scope of current Early Intervention needs.

Principal investigators

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Approved Products

2020

Rademacher, T. (2020) Characterizing Deaf Children’s Early Communication Services: An Online Parent Survey. Poster presented at the 19TH Annual Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) Meeting. Kansas City, MO.


Family ASL: Bimodal bilingual acquisition by deaf children of hearing parents

ID: 4006
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: August 2019
End Date: July 2024

Description

Five-year project tracking development of both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English by young deaf children whose hearing parents are learning ASL as a second language. The study documents parents’ process of ASL learning and investigates the extent to which early but non-native ASL input, alongside a bimodal bilingual approach in school-based programs, supports linguistic and cognitive development for deaf children growing up in the most prevalent context, within hearing families.

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Approved Products

2020

Chen Pichler, D. and Lillo-Martin, D. (2019, November 8-10). Motivation for L2 ASL learning by hearing parents with deaf children [Poster presentation. Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD), Boston, MA, United States.

Chen Pichler, D., Gale, E. and Lillo-Martin, D. (2019, March 8-10). How to support ASL as an L1 for children and L2 for parents: An interactive discussion [Conference presentation]. Annual Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Meeting (EHDI 2020), Kansas City, MO, United States.


Language Emergence, Evolution, and Acquisition

ID: 3593
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
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.

Principal investigators

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Approved Products

2018

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.


Motivated Look at Indicating Verbs in ASL (MoLo)

ID: 4009
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2019
End Date: September 2022

Description

Our three-year pilot study is inspired by a British Sign Language (BSL) corpus-based study on indicating verbs and uses of space. Indicating verbs can be directed towards present individuals or spatial representations of these individuals when they are not present. These representations are generally viewed in signed language linguistics to either be motivated by spatial relationships in the world or be purely arbitrary, lacking any spatial relationships whatsoever. The BSL study found strong preference of indicating verbs for motivated space, putting to question the actual role of arbitrary space in signed languages. Our corpus-based study addresses a similar question on the preferences of ASL indicating verbs for the use of arbitrary space and motivated space, but also considers five subtypes of motivated space (whereas the BSL study considers a single general type). Video data will be annotated for linguistic features relevant to indicating verbs and the use of space, followed by (a) statistical analysis revealing ASL indicating verb preferences and (b) a Conversation Analysis task of indicating verb tokens pinpointing possible interactional influences over indicating verb usage.

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2021

Dudis, P. G., Hochgesang, J. A., Shaw, E., & Villanueva, M. (2020, November). Introduction to “Motivated Look at Indicating Verbs in ASL (MoLo)” Project. HDLS14, Virtual Conference. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/H8GK4


Navigating Social Distancing with DeafBlind Children: ProTactile Language Acquisition in an Online Learning Environment

ID: 4012
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2020
End Date: February 2022

Description

Blanket directives to practice social distancing, while crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19, do not consider vulnerable populations such as DeafBlind children, who under such conditions, are at risk for social isolation and lack of critical language exposure. This project asks: How can social and linguistic channels for supporting language acquisition and cognitive development be maintained, while also adhering to rules of social engagement that are in place during the pandemic, and what can we learn about language and language creation in studying that process? Over the past decade, groups of DeafBlind adults in the United States began communicating directly with one another via reciprocal, tactile channels—a practice known as "protactile". These practices are leading to an emergent grammatical system that has yet to be acquired by any DeafBlind children. This project introduces a cohort of DeafBlind children to skilled protactile signers who will be employing novel educational materials and uniquely designed technology to facilitate language acquisition. This learning environment offers a rare opportunity to analyze the effects of the natural acquisition process as the language is transmitted from DeafBlind adult users of protactile language, who knew American Sign Language before protactile language, to DeafBlind children, who are acquiring protactile language as a first language. It is predicted that DeafBlind children will follow the general course of first language acquisition and will develop core lexical items earlier than verbs with componential morphology, thereby diverging from the path that adult signers have taken, creating forms with componential morphology before creating core lexical items. We also predict that the lexical forms created by children will adhere to protactile phonological principles more broadly than the forms created by adult protactile signers, who rely on protactile phonological principles only in a much more restricted set of signs. If confirmed, the findings will demonstrate that DeafBlind children are capable of acquiring and expanding language under conditions of social distancing, and it will shed light, for the first time, on how language at the phonological level is optimized to the tactile modality as that process unfolds from adult to child.

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Philadelphia signs

ID: 2910
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: August 2015
End Date: September 2022

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.

Principal investigators

Priorities addressed

Approved Products

2018

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.

2019

Tamminga, M. Fisher, J., & Hochgesang, J. (2019). "Weak hand variation in Philadelphia ASL: A pilot study" UPenn Working Papers in Linguistics, volume 25.2

Tamminga, M., Fisher, J., & Hochgesang, J.A. (2018, October). Weak hand variation in Philadelphia ASL: A pilot study. Presented at the 47th "New Ways of Analyzing Variation" (NWAV47). New York University. (October 18-21, 2018)


The Influence of Language on Cognitive Development

ID: 3595
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
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.

Principal investigators

Additional investigators

  • Coppola, Marie • Department of Psychological Sciences • University of Connecticut
  • Lieberman, Amy L • Wheelock College of Education and Human Development • Boston University

Priorities addressed


Scholarship and creative activity

2021

Bragg, D., Caselli, N., Hochgesang, J. A., Huenerfauth, M., Katz-Hernandez, L., Koller, O., Kushalnagar, R., Vogler, C., & Ladner, R. E. (2021). The FATE Landscape of Sign Language AI Datasets: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing: Special Issue of ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS) on AI Fairness and People with Disabilities, 14(2), 1–45. https://doi.org/10.1145/3436996

Dworkin, A. (2021, June 2). Emboxed discourse: Considering the use of American Sign Language in the age of Zoom (J. &. E. S. Yvans Cator, Trans.). Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tha5sdqrlwE

Fisher, J. (2021, January 31). How the president gets a name sign. The New York Times, Kids Section, 4.

Fisher, J. N., Hochgesang, J. A., Tamminga, M., & Miller, R. (2021). Uncovering the lived experiences of elderly Deaf Philadelphians. In R. Pfau, A. Göksel, & J. Hosemann (Eds.), Our Lives – Our Stories: Life Experiences of Elderly Deaf People (pp. 277–322). De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110701906

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021). Open Letter to Springer Editors. https://figshare.com/articles/online_resource/Open_Letter_to_Springer_Editors/13600940/3

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, April 2). Documenting the language use of the ASL Communities [Invited Workshop presentation]. Universals Workshop Series, Zoom, Harvard, Department of Linguistics. https://linguistics.fas.harvard.edu/pages/language-universals, https://youtu.be/B7LLP787VfM

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, February 26). Including deaf people and signed languages in linguistics. Inclusive Pedagogy in Linguistics Series, Zoom, University of Chicago. https://inclusivepedagogyling.hum.uchicago.edu/

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, February 3). My work on the ASL Signbank. Class presentation, Cape Fear Community College, NC.

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, June 14). Documenting Language Use of the ASL Communities [Invited presentation]. CREST Fest 2021, Virtual Conference. https://www.crest-network.com/fest

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, March 18). Language Documentation: ASL Communities [Invited Workshop presentation]. Modalities Student Workshop Series, Zoom, University of Chicago.

Hochgesang, J. A. (2021, September 16). Ethics of working with signed language communities. AI & Sign Language Convention 2021 Developing Artificial Intelligence for Sign Language Recognition, Translation and Generation, Zoom, Gallaudet University. https://sites.google.com/gallaudet.edu/aiworkshop

Hochgesang, J. A., & Occhino, C. (2021, June 28). Live Discussion of “Documenting Language Use of the ASL Communities” [Invited discussant]. CREST Fest 2021, Virtual Conference. https://www.crest-network.com/fest

Hochgesang, J. A., Crasborn, O., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2021 (2017-2021)). ASL Signbank. https://aslsignbank.haskins.yale.edu/

Katz, S. (2021, February 26). The COVID Zoom Boom Is Reshaping Sign Language. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-covid-zoom-boom-is-reshaping-sign-language1/

Occhino, C., Fisher, J., Hill, J., Hochgesang, J. A., Shaw, E., & Tamminga, M. (2021). Report on On-going Research: New Trends in ASL Variation Documentation. Sign Language Studies, 21(3), 350–377.