Dr Rabia Ergin, postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar. Her talk will be about "Language Emergence and Development in the Absence of Conventionalized Linguistic Input".
Human communication system, language, is unique and so distinct from all other systems because we manage to transfer the nuances in meaning and virtually any thought we have in our minds with some degree of precision into another person’s mind. The crucial question is "how does a human language come about from scratch?" In order to address this question, I present evidence from three studies conducted on Central Taurus Sign Language (CTSL). CTSL is a young sign language that emerged within the last half century in the absence of a conventionalized language model. Today it is used by 25 deaf and approximately 80 hearing signers in a mountainous region in south-central Turkey. First, I show the degree of lexicalization of form-meaning mappings in signs for everyday objects. Second, I present evidence for the emergence and conventionalization of various word orders as argument markers. Finally, I demonstrate the emergence and conventionalization of distinctive morphological markers to express predicates signaling symmetry and reciprocity. The three studies together portray the architecture of a young system under construction.
The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, research school for linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities.