Panel discussion will explore ‘sign languages and the mind’

An abstract artwork depicting various manual gestures comprising American Sign Language

In celebration of the introduction of American Sign Language (ASL) to Yale’s curriculum, the Department of Linguistics is hosting a panel discussion on Friday, Nov. 9.

Titled “Sign Languages and the Mind: Their History, Science, and Power,” the event will bring together three researchers, two of whom are deaf, who will discuss the importance of sign languages in the cognitive development of deaf children, what they reveal about the human mind, and the history of attitudes toward the deaf and sign languages.

The event will be held 1-4 p.m. in Rm. 114, Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect St. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required by Nov. 5. Members of the Yale community should register here; while others should register using this form.

ASL interpreters will be available for the entirety of the event.

Yale’s ASL program — which was originally established as a pilot program — has been allocated resources by the Teaching Resource Advisory Committee to hire a lector in ASL, for a three-year appointment, beginning in summer 2019.

The panelists for the Nov. 9 event include Annemarie Kocab, Harvard University, who will speak on “How a New Language Is Created: What Homesign and Nicaraguan Sign Language Tell Us About the Human Mind”; Amber J. Martin, Hunter College, who will discuss “The Impact of Late Language Acquisition on Cognitive Development”; and Gerald Shea ’64, who will explore “The Sounds of Silence: A History of the Deaf and Signed Languages in Europe and America.”

The event is supported by the Flint Fund, Yale Department of Linguistics, Yale Office for Equal Opportunity Programs, and DiversAbility at Yale. Visit the event website for more information.

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Media Contact

Bess Connolly Martell: elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu, 203-432-1324