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At the Sign Language Research Center, we are working towards two major goals: first, to better understand the forces that contribute to language change in signed languages; and second, to identify the underlying mechanisms in the brain responsible for the human ability to learn and use language.

The research projects conducted by the SLRC study questions pertaining to:

  • Language change and language variation
  • Cross-linguistic variation
  • Factors that influence language change across time
  • How different grammatical structures are processed in the brain
  • Emergent properties of new languages grounded in gesture
  • How humans transform gesture into linguistic systems
  • How signed language is acquired

We also want to contribute to the growing body of data available to researchers by building an expandable database which includes tools for effective data collection & experimental design, as well as a digital library containing historical and modern sign language data from a variety of related sign languages. This system will constitute not only a unique database of historical ASL data, but a powerful comparative tool for use by researchers from disciplines such as linguistics, cognitive sciences, and social sciences.


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