Carla Pol

Carla Pol, University of Birmingham

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Research Assistant

Contact details

Frankland Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Carla works as a Research Assistant alongside Dr Gerardo Ortega for the AHRC-DFG project From icon to abstraction in sign language: how iconicity shapes the lexicon in the visual modality together with Professor Pamela Perniss (University of Cologne). The project investigates how iconicity constrains form-meaning mappings in the visual modality and shapes a lexicon for both concrete and abstract concepts.


  • MA with Honours in Language Sciences, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 2014
  • BA with Honours in Philosophy, La Sapienza University of Rome, 2011


At the beginning of my BA at La Sapienza University of Rome, I discovered the fascinating field of sign languages and multimodal language through semiotics, linguistics and philosophy of language investigations. I graduated with a thesis in sign languages and the origin of language with Prof. Stefano Gensini. In 2011 I obtained the Italian Sign Language certificate of language proficiency with top marks at the deaf centre Gruppo SILIS.  I also studied American Sign Language and Deaf culture at the MAB-MACKAY Rehabilitation Centre in Montreal for a year. Afterwards, I continued my studies in sign Languages with a MA at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice with a thesis in Deaf humour with Prof. Carmela Bertone and the deaf performer and LIS teacher Gabriele Caia. Since 2015 I have been working as a special educational needs and disability teaching assistant in mainstream and special provisions in Italy and in several cities in the North of the UK. This year I took part as a lab research intern at the Multimodal Language and Cognition lab at the Max Planck institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Conducted by Prof. Asli Ozyurek and Dr Ortega, the project investigated the role of gesture in the acquisition of Sign Language of the Netherlands as a second language.


Carla’s research interests are sign language acquisition, iconicity, multimodal communication and the similarities between sign and gesture.