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Ann Senghas
Associate Professor & Psychology Chair (Barnard)
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995

General Area of Research

Language acquisition, cognitive development, language evolution, historical linguistics, gesture.

Current Research

How learners create ordered systems from disordered input, particularly in the realm of language acquisition. She is interested in how this ability changes with age, and also how it shapes languages over time. Her current research examines the emergence of grammatical structure in a new sign language being created by a generation of deaf children and adolescents in Nicaragua.  

Relevant Publications

Senghas, A., and D. Roman (in press). La Comunidad Sorda de Nicaragua y su Idioma: Lo que hemos Aprendido de ellos [The Nicaraguan Deaf Community and its Language: What we have learned from them]. (Edited volume). London/Managua: Leonard Cheshire International.

Senghas, A. (in press). ¿De dónde surgióel Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua? [Where did Nicaraguan Sign Language come from?] To appear in A. Senghas and D. Roman, (Eds.), La Comunidad Sorda de Nicaragua y su Idioma: Lo que hemos Aprendido de ellos. London/Managua: Leonard Cheshire International.

Pyers, J. E., and A. Senghas (in press). Referential shift in Nicaraguan Sign Language: A comparison with American Sign Language. To appear in P. Perniss, R. Pfau, and M. Steinbach, (Eds.), Visible variation: Comparative studies on sign language structure. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Senghas, A., S. Kita, and A. Özyürek (in press). Children creating core properties of language: evidence from an emerging sign language in Nicaragua. To appear in K. Lindgren, D. DeLuca, B. Reynolds, and D. J. Napoli (Eds.), Signs and Voices. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press. [Reprint of Senghas et al., 2004]

Senghas, A. (2005). Language emergence: Clues from a new Bedouin sign language. Current Biology, 15:12, 463-465.

Senghas, A., S. Kita, and A. Özyürek (2005). Linguaggio e evoluzione: I bambini sordi del Nicaragua mostrano come nasce una lingua. Darwin, 2:8, 88-96. [Includes Italian translation of Senghas et al. 2004, with additional text and graphics].

Senghas, A., A. Özyürek, and S. Kita (2005). Language emergence in vitro or in vivo? Response to comment on “Children creating core properties of language: evidence from an emerging sign language in Nicaragua.” Science, 309: 5731, 56.

Senghas, A., S. Kita, and A. Özyürek (2004). Children creating core properties of language: evidence from an emerging sign language in Nicaragua. Science, 305: 5691, 1779-1782.

Senghas, R. J., A. Senghas, and J. E. Pyers (2005) The emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language: Questions of development, acquisition, and evolution In J. Langer, S. T. Parker, & C. Milbrath (Eds.), Biology and Knowledge revisited: From neurogenesis to psychogenesis. Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Senghas, R. J., A. Senghas, and J. E. Pyers (In press). The emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language: Questions of development, acquisition, and evolution In J. Langer, S. T. Parker, & C. Milbrath (Eds.), Biology and Knowledge revisited: From neurogenesis to psychogenesis. Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Senghas, A (2003). Intergenerational influence and ontogenetic development in the emergence of spatial grammar in Nicaraguan Sign Language Cognitive Development, 18, 511-531.

Senghas, A., A. Ozyürek, and S. Kita (2002). Encoding motion events in an emerging sign language: From Nicaraguan gestures to Nicaraguan signs In A. Baker, B. van den Bogaerde & O. Crasborn (Eds.) Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Selected papers from TISLR 2000. Hamburg Signum Press.

Saffran, J. R., A. Senghas, and J. C. Trueswell (2001). The acquisition of language by children Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98: 23, 12874-12875.

Senghas, A (2001). Spatial and temporal coding of Nicaraguan Sign Language in MediaTagger: Documenting three dimensions with a two-dimensional tool Sign Language and Linguistics, 4: 1/2, 229-240

Senghas, A., and M. Coppola (2001). Children creating language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language acquired a spatial grammar Psychological Science, 12, 4: 323-328.

Senghas, A (2000). The development of early spatial morphology in Nicaraguan Sign Language In S. C. Howell, S. A. Fish, and T. Keith-Lucas, (Eds.), BUCLD 24: Proceedings of the 24th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Boston Cascadilla Press, 696-707.

Kegl, J., A. Senghas, and M. Coppola (1999). Creation through contact: Sign language emergence and sign language change in Nicaragua In M. DeGraff, (Ed.), Language Creation and Language Change: Creolization, Diachrony, and Development. Cambridge MIT Press, 179-237.

Senghas, A (1995). Children’s contribution to the birth of Nicaraguan Sign Language Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.

Senghas, A (1995). Conventionalization in the first generation: a community acquires a language USD Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues, 6, Spring, 1995.

Senghas, A (1995). The development of Nicaraguan Sign Language via the language acquisition process In D. MacLaughlin & S. McEwen (Eds.), BUCLD 19: Proceedings of the 19th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Boston Cascadilla Press, 543-552.


Courses Frequently Taught

PSYC BC 1001: Introduction to Psychology

PSYC BC 1127: Developmental Psychology with lab

PSYC BC 1129: Developmental Psychology without lab

PSYC BC 3369: Language Development (undergraduate seminar) [syllabus]

PSYC G 4272: Advanced Seminar in Language Development (graduate seminar)

Ann Senghas Photo

Columbia University
Psychology Dept. Barnard College
415G Milbank
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Phone: 212-854-0115


 
Last modified: Feb 17, 2012 2:40:42 PM EST