Srudent presentation by Shane Blau, LIN doctoral student “Student Accent and linguistic characteristics of Deaf bilingual signers: Building the foundation for infant language research”

GRP presentation by Shane Blau, LIN PhD Student

“Accent and linguistic characteristics of Deaf bilingual signers: Building the foundation for infant language research”

This study analyzes the language of Deaf bilingual signers (unimodal bilinguals) producing language in their L1 and L2 sign languages. The original motivation for this study was to develop stimulus materials for a study on infants, specifically to determine whether Deaf infants can distinguish different unknown sign languages. For the infant task, it was critical to identify whether the language produced by the adult signers was accented, but there is little consensus on what constitutes accent in sign languages. The presented research aims to take a first step towards identifying the characteristics of accented sign. This presentation will explain the foundational concepts for the infant research question, and then discuss findings from an in-depth analysis of the language produced by native-signing Deaf adults who are fluent in more than one sign language. The analysis includes what features contribute to the perception of accent, how strong of an accent each signer was perceived as having, the impact of different L1 languages, and the characteristics of transfer between the L1 and L2 production. Sign languages examined include Persian Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, American Sign Language and Langue des Signes Québécoise. Accent ratings vary significantly across individuals, but initial analysis shows that there was a significant difference in how Deaf and hearing participants rated the accent of the sign models. Overall, responses indicate that prosody and mouthing are the most significant factors in determining if a signer is accented. Based on these findings, the mouthing and prosodic features of each bilingual signer were examined for instances of transfer and non-native-like production. The presentation will give an overview of these findings, explore how these data can contribute to our knowledge about language discrimination in sign languages, and finally, tie the data back to the question of infant language development.

Shane Blau is a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics. He is hearing from a hearing family, and learned ASL as a young adult. His involvement with the Deaf community began in 1995 when he went to Boston University and majored in Deaf Studies. Since then, he has worked in education with Deaf teenagers, attended the Interpreter Preparation Program at Ohlone College (Fremont, CA), worked as a certified interpreter for 10 years, received his MA in Linguistics from Gallaudet (2012), studied neurolinguistics at UC Davis and now has returned to Gallaudet to pursue his research interest in language acquisition under the guidance of Dr. Deborah Chen Pichler. His current research focuses on the effects of early language experience on linguistic development. Specifically, he is investigating formational and prosodic differences in sign languages and children’s ability to discriminate between different sign languages.

Friday, September 30, 11:00am – 11:50am

Location: SLCC 3233, our Open Area


Posted in Uncategorized

News: Miako Rankin presented “Educational Interpreting: What’s Linguistics Got to Do With It?” in August, 2016

On August 31, Linguistics faculty member Miako Rankin traveled to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to meet with educational interpreters in the Spotsylvania School District (a few of whom are pictured here). Together they explored ways that a cognitive linguistic framework can inform interpreter decision making, ideally leading to better outcomes for deaf students in mainstream programs. It was a lively and fruitful discussion with wide-ranging potential positive impact. Future meetings will continue this community engagement, expanding the discussion to include school administrators and policy makers as well.


Posted in Workshops, Presentation, Faculty | Tagged , , , ,

Linguistics Department Dissertation Defense – Wanette Reynolds on the development of referent tracking in signed narratives 7/29/16 at 2 PM @College Hall Lyceum

Wanted Reynolds will be defending her dissertation Friday July 29, 2016 at 2pm in the College Hall Lyceum. The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community. We invite you to come and learn about her research and support her on this important academic milestone.

Ms. Reynolds’s study examines the development of referent tracking in the signed narratives of six young elementary-school aged children who can hear, are bimodal bilinguals, and are first language acquirers of American Sign Language (ASL) and English. This study was motivated by three research questions that compare the referent tracking patterns of young bimodal bilinguals (Bibi) developmentally a year and a half apart, to Deaf age-matched peers, and to the patterns observed in heritage speaker literature.  The Bibi data reveal patterns more typical of heritage speakers than their Deaf counterparts in the overuse of overt forms for referential cohesion (Sorace & Serratrice, 2009), code-blending (Emmorey et al., 2008), and increased use of fingerspelled and English-influenced forms for tracking referents. The results point to developmental patterns that are distinct from their Deaf native-signing counterparts, but reminiscent of heritage speaker patterns. The empirical results suggest that bimodal bilinguals may be best described as heritage signers.

The members of Ms. Reynolds’s dissertation committee are Dr. Deborah Chen Pichler, chair of the dissertation committee, Department of Linguistics; Dr. Gaurav Mathur, Department of Linguistics; Dr. Mary Thumann, Department of Linguistics; and Dr. Lourdes Ortega, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University.

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6/11/16 6pm in Baltimore – Ceil Lucas memoir wine/cheese reception & book signing

Save the date! June 11, 2016 at 6 PM

At The Ivy Bookshop (6080 Falls Road, Baltimore)

Ceil Lucas, Professor Emerita, Department of Linguistics, will read from and discuss her memoir How I Got Here: A Memoir. A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow. Interpreters will be provided by Community College of Baltimore County (Catonsville) Interpreter Preparation Program.

This is the front and back of Ceil Lucas's Memoir "How I Got Here"

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“Establishing Boundaries: Claims to Authority and Knowledge” WAPA Panel May 3, 2016 7-9 PM

Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists presents “Establishing Boundaries: Claims to Authority and Knowledge”

The Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists presents “Establishing Boundaries: Claims to Authority and Knowledge.”  

Panelists: Dr. Audrey C. Cooper, Erin Moriarty Harrelson, Dr. Julie A. Hochgesang, Dr. Jessica C. Lee, and Dr. Khadijat Rashid

Language of Presentation:American Sign Language with interpretation into English

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: The Charles Sumner School; 17 M Sts, NW., Washington, DC 20036
Directions: 5 minute walk from the Dupont Circle or Farragut North Red Lines; 10 minute walk from the McPherson Square Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines.

Panel Focus: This panel will discuss various claims to authority and knowledge, the ethical considerations involved with representation of deaf communities, and the purpose of research in deaf communities. Panelists will share their experiences with and observations of political and practical issues arising in and between deaf groups or ‘communities’, deaf groups and academic researchers, and deaf groups and development. Panelists will discuss case examples from Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and the United States to illustrate the “technologies of ownership” used to claim authority and knowledge.

For more information about the event and to read panelist bios, please go to

Posted in Research, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

CFP: SSLL5 23-25 Sept 2016 in Osaka, Japan

(Sharing recent post from


Call for Papers

Conference: The 5th Meeting of Signed and Spoken Language Linguistics (SSLL5)
Dates: 23-25 September 2016
Location: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
Organizers: HARA Daisuke (H), IIZUMI Naoko (H), IKEDA Masumi (D), Kikusawa Ritsuko (H, Chair), MATSUOKA Kazumi (H), SAGARA Keiko (D)
Abstract Submission:
Abstract due: 16 May 2016

SSLL2016 will be held for the promotion of sign language linguistics, and also better understanding toward human language by comparing and analyzingvsigned and spoken languages. English/Japanese, ASL/English, JSL/Japanese interpretation will be provided. We invite presentations (30 minutes presentation, followed by 10 minutes questions and answers) on any topics related to sign languages linguistics and/or a comparison between signed and spoken languages.

Invited Lectures:
Elisabeth Engberg-Pedersen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Communicative Efficiency in Sign and Speech

Jane S. Tsay (National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan)
Modality Effects or Rhetorical Style: What Are Signed Languages Good At?

Past Events:
The 3rd International Symposium on Signed and Spoken Language Linguistics (SSLL3) “Language Description, Documentation and Conservation and Cross-modal Typology”

Signed and Spoken Language Linguistics (SSLL) Festa at Minpaku 2013

相良啓子(さがら けいこ)

Keiko Sagara

National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
10-1 Senri Expopark, Shuita-shi, 565-8511, Japan
Fax: +81-6-6878-8272(Direct)

Posted in Conferences, Linguistics, Research

CFP: HDLS12, abstracts due Aug 1, 2016

(Adapted from email sent to us)

Call for papers – Twelfth High Desert Linguistics Society (HDLS) Conference

The theme of this year’s conference is “Linguistics as an Interdisciplinary Science.” In accordance with this theme, the submission of papers that shed light on linguistic issues from the point of view of neighboring disciplines including, but not limited to, Psychology, Anthropology, and Computer Science, is especially encouraged.

HDLS organizers proudly announce our keynote speakers for HDLS 12:

Sally Rice — University of Alberta
Eve Sweetser — University of California, Berkeley
Ronnie Wilbur — Purdue University

Applicants can submit an abstract for the following:

Talk: Presentations will be 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes of discussion.
Poster: Applicants accepted for posters will be notified with the specific guidelines for the poster.
Themed Panel: Panels will consist of three (3) presenters. Each presenter will have 20 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes, plus 30 minutes of discussion for the panel as a whole. Speakers interested in this format are responsible for deciding who will be part of the suggested panel.Only one document should be submitted per panel. The document should include the proposed panel topic (300 words), and how each speaker will contribute to it (500 words each).
Applicants are welcome to submit as many abstracts as they see fit; however, each presenter will only be allowed to present up to one single-authored and one co-authored contribution.

Abstract guidelines:

Abstracts (excluding those for panels) must not exceed two (2) typed pages, including examples and references. Abstracts must be in PDF format with 12-point font.

Please remove all information that would identify the author(s) of the abstract. Submissions that do not comply with the above guidelines will not be considered for acceptance.

This year HDLS organizers offer the opportunity to submit abstracts in Spanish for posters and themed panels.


Deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, August 1st 2016. Applicants will be notified of acceptance status by Thursday, September 1st 2016.

How to submit
Please submit abstracts in .pdf, at the following url:

Easy Abs HDLS Abstract submissions opens on May 1st 2016

Posted in Conferences, Linguistics, Research, Students