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Dr. Annemarie Kocab Sign Language/Deaf Access & Equity Candidate
February 24 @ 12:00 am - 1:00 pm
Join us Monday, February 24th at 12:00 PM in 388 to hear a presentation from Dr. Annemarie Kocab who is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard University.
Title: The origins of language: evidence from Nicaraguan sign language and the lab.
Abstract: All societies have languages capable of expressing the richness of human thought. How much of this achievement is an historical accomplishment, similar to mathematics or science? To what extent does this ability rely on our evolved cognitive capacities? Dr. Kocab studies these questions by looking at language creation in different communities, including Nicaraguan Sign Language, a new language only 50 years old, homesign systems, and laboratory-created communication systems. Dr. Kocab will present results on how a new language comes to have recursion, quantifiers like “some” and “all,” and temporal language. Dr. Kocab finds evidence for rapid emergence of linguistic structure within a few generations. She will argue that three factors appear critical to the origins and complexity of languages: (1) individual child minds, which (2) interact in a language community, with (3) the opportunity for intergenerational transmission and reanalysis.
The venue is wheelchair-accessible, and American Sign Language interpreting will be provided. Requests for other accommodations should be sent to Morton Ann Gernsbacher (MAGernsb@wisc.edu) by Wednesday, February 19.