Welcome to the Language Acquisition and Development Research Laboratory at Barnard College of Columbia University.
We study the powerful abilities that make children so adept at learning language. What is the nature of these abilities? What role do they play in the creation new languages? In language change over generations? How do they interact with other cognitive abilities? We approach these questions by studying Nicaraguan Sign Language, created over the past 40 years by a new generation of Deaf children and adolescents.
We are grateful to have been supported by the National Institutes of Health/NIDCD since 2002.
Rissman L., Horton L., Flaherty M., Coppola M., Senghas A., Brentari D. and Goldin-Meadow S. (2016). Strategies In Gesture And Sign For Demoting An Agent: Effects Of Language Community And Input. In S.G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Feher & T. Verhoef (eds.) The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11). http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/158.html
Horton, L., S. Goldin-Meadow, M. Coppola, A. Senghas, D. Brentari. (2015). Forging a morphological system out of two dimensions: Agentivity and number. Open Linguistics, doi: 10.1515/opli-2015-0021
Brentari, D., M. Coppola, and A. Senghas (In press). Handshape complexity as a precursor to phonology: Evidence from acquisition and conventionalization in mature and emerging sign languages. Language Acquisition.
Kocab, A., J. E. Pyers, and A. Senghas. (2015). Referential shift in Nicaraguan Sign Language: A transition from lexical to spatial devices. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1540. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01540
Goldin-Meadow, S., D. Brentari, M. Coppola, L. Horton, and A. Senghas. (2014). Watching language grow in the manual modality: Nominals, predicates, and handshapes. Cognition. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.029
Goldin-Meadow, S., D. Brentari, M. Coppola, L. Horton, and A. Senghas. (Revising to resubmit). Watching language grow in the manual modality: How the hand can distinguish between nouns and verbs.
Kocab, A., J. E. Pyers, and A. Senghas. (Under review). Referential shift in Nicaraguan Sign Language: A transition from lexical to spatial devices.
Brentari, D., M. Coppola, and A. Senghas. (Revising to resubmit). Handshape complexity as a precursor to phonology: Evidence from acquisition and conventionalization in mature and emerging sign languages.
Rabagliati, H., A. Senghas, S. Johnson, and G. F. Marcus (2012). Infant rule learning: Advantage language, or advantage speech? Public Library of Science PLoS ONE 7(7): e40517. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040517 [Link]
Flaherty, M. and A. Senghas (2011). Numerosity and Number Signs in Deaf Nicaraguan Adults. Cognition, 121, 427-436.
Senghas, A. (2010). The emergence of two functions for spatial devices in Nicaraguan Sign Language. Human Development, 53, 287-302.
Pyers, J. E., A. Shusterman, A. Senghas, E. Spelke, and K. Emmorey (2010). Spatial language supports spatial cognition: Evidence from learners of an emerging sign language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 107:27 (12116-12120).
Pyers, J. and A. Senghas (2009). Language promotes false-belief understanding: Evidence from a new sign language. Psychological Science, 20:7, 805-812.
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, A. (2003). Intergenerational influence and ontogenetic development in the emergence of spatial grammar in Nicaraguan Sign Language. Cognitive Development, 18, 511-531.
Saffran, J. R., A. Senghas, and J. C. Trueswell (2001). The acquisition of language by children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 98: 23, 12874-12875. [authors listed alphabetically]
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. [update and revision of Senghas, 1999]
Senghas, A., and M. Coppola (2001). Children creating language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language acquired a spatial grammar. Psychological Science, 12, 4: 323-328.