thecenter

Activities and Seminars

The signing brain: What sign languages reveal about human language and the brain
 
Date: Oct 28, 2012

Where: Aquarium Donostia - San Sebastian, 19:30

The signing brain: What sign languages reveal about human language and the brain

Sign languages are understood by the eye rather than by the ear and are produced by the hands rather than by the tongue. In addition, many signs (but few words) have a resemblance between their form and their meaning; for example, the sign in Spanish Sign Language (LSE) meaning “to hammer” has the same form as the pantomimed action of hammering.

Given these striking differences between sign and speech, I ask the following questions: Are the same key brain areas involved in producing and comprehending spoken and signed languages? Does the brain distinguish between pantomimes and signs?

The “yes” answers to these questions show that the human brain is designed for language, regardless of whether language is visual-manual or auditory-vocal.

 

Karen Emmorey

Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience

San Diego State University

Limited seating. Spanish sign language interpretation will be provided.