£98K ESRC grant awarded to investigate communication by deaf children without conventional language input

Sotaro Kita has been awarded a £98,000 research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, with two collaborators, Professor Susan Goldin Meadow and Professor Diane Brentari (both at the University of Chicago).

The project will investigate whether "home signs", gestural communication systems created by a deaf child in a hearing family without sign language input, have language-like properties. In particular, the project will investigate how home signs adhere to some of the basic principles of phonology, that is, systematic organisation of linguistic forms. The results will indicate the extent to which basic properties of language can be created by children with impoverished language input.