Linguistics Colloquium: Gerardo Ortega

24/11/2020 - 14:00 - 15:30

Gerardo Ortega, University of Birmingham

Title: The role of gesture in the acquisition of a sign language as a second language

Learners of a second language (L2) commonly rely on their first language (L1) to break into the novel linguistic system. But what happens when hearing adults who acquired a spoken L1 (e.g., English or Dutch) go on to learn a sign language as L2? It could be argued that the L1 cannot be exploited to scaffold a novel L2 because of the modality differences between speech (oral-aural) and sign (manual-visual). In this talk I will argue that instead, learners use their gestures at the earliest stages of sign learning to break into a new linguistic system in the manual modality.


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