Natasha Abner and Savithry Namboodiripad

Assistant professors Natasha Abner and Savithry Namboodiripad are among the coauthors of a research article published online in the open access journal Language Learning and Development

The article, “Emergent Morphology in Child Homesign: Evidence from Number Language,” is coauthored by professors Abner and Namboodiripad with Elizabet Spaepen and Susan Goldin-Meadow of the University of Chicago. 

Article summary:

Human languages, signed and spoken, can be characterized by the structural patterns they use to associate communicative forms with meanings. In a study of the communicative systems of four deaf child homesigners, the researchers found that all four children use handshape and movement devices to express cardinal and non-cardinal number information. Further, their number expressions are consistent in both form and meaning. The creation of new, complex forms with predictable meanings across gesture types and linguistic functions constitutes evidence for an inflectional morphological paradigm in homesign. The study expands our understanding of the structural patterns of language that are, and are not, dependent on linguistic input.

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