Linguistics Colloquium: Wendy Sandler

12/10/2021 - 14:00 - 15:30

Wendy Sandler, Sign Language Research Lab, University of Haifa

Title: The Grammar of the Body and the ABCs of the Language Faculty


Sign languages teach us that humans have the capacity to create language in two different physical modalities.  What can we learn from this dual capacity?  In this talk, I support the idea that the body-to-grammar correspondence of sign languages shows us the ABC’s of language form and emergence.  Sign languages allow us to see directly the Analytic properties shared with spoken languages.  By tracking the Body-grammar correspondence, we also witness the differences between components in sign languages and their counterparts in spoken languages.  The body-based analysis shows us the contributions of Culture to language emergence, laying bare the step-by-step emergence and conventionalization of linguistic components across generations, and identifying a distinctive community ‘accent’. 



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