Dr Gerardo Ortega BA, MA, PhD

Dr Gerardo Ortega, University of Birmingham

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Lecturer

Contact details

Address
Frankland Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am a lecturer interested in the acquisition and emergence of manual communication. I specialise in the acquisition of a sign language as a first and second language, sign language processing, and the similarities between sign and gesture. I also explore the role of gesture and iconicity in sign language emergence and evolution.

Qualifications

  • PhD Cognitive, perceptual and Brain Sciences (University College London, UK) 2013
  • MA Applied Linguistics (Universidad de las Americas, Mexico) 2006
  • BA Environmental Engineering (Universidad de las Americas, Mexico) 2003

Biography

Gerardo completed his PhD at the Deafness, Language and Cognition Research Centre at University College London under the supervision of Gary Morgan and Bencie Woll. He then took a position as postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands under the supervision of Asli Ozyurek. After six years in the Netherlands, he accepted a lecturer position at the department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. In addition ot his research projects, Gerardo is actively engaged in the research community and contributes as ad hoc reviewer for journals and funding agencies including Sign Language and Linguistics, Second Language Research, Language Learning, Cognition. Psychological Science, and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.

Teaching

I am currently teaching the under graduate modules Investigating Language, Theories of Language, and Applied Linguistics

Postgraduate supervision

I am always interested in discussing the possibility of supervising PhD students to pursue research on the acquisition of sign languages as a second or first language, sign language processing, the interface between gesture and sign.


Find out more - our PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

The main focus of his research is to explore the underlying mechanims behind the acquisition of a sign language. He primarily focuses on how hearing people - who already master a spoken language - go on to acquire a sign language as second language. He has also worked on sign language learning by deaf children. Using a wide range of techinques such as as naturalistic observation, behavioural tasks, and electrophysiological methods, he has investigated how iconicity and gesture contribute to sign learning and processing. In a different line of research he has also investigates how the different strategies to communicate with iconic gesture may serve as scaffolding for language emergence and evolution. He has carried out extensive research in different sign languages (British Sign Language, Sign Language of the Netherlands, Turkish Sign Language, and Mexican Sign Language) as well as cross-cultural studies in gesture production and comprehension.

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Ortega, G. Özyürek, A. & Peeters, D. (2019). Iconic gestures serve as manual cognates in hearing second language learners of a sign language: an ERP study. Journal of Experimental Psychology; Learning, Memory and Cognition. dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm000072
  • Ortega, G., Schiefner, A. & Özyürek, A. (2019). Hearing non-signers use their gestures to predict iconic form-meaning mappings at first exposure to sign. Cognition.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.06.008
  • Ortega, G., & Özyürek, A. (2019). Systematic mappings between semantic categories and types of iconic representations in the manual modality: a normed database of silent gesture. Behavior Research Methods
  • Ortega,G. (2017). Iconicity and sign language acquisition: A review. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1280. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01280 (Impact factor IF: 3.116)
  • Ortega, G., Sümer, B. & Özyürek, A. (2017). Type of iconicity matters in the vocabulary development of signing children. Developmental Psychology, 53(1), 88-99. doi:10.1037/dev0000161 (IF: 2.463).
  • Ortega, G. (2016). Language acquisition and development. In G. Gertz, G. & P. Boudreault, P. (Eds.) The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia: Vol 3 (p. 547-551). London: SAGE Publications Inc.
  • Ortega, G. & Morgan, G. (2015). Input processing at first exposure to a sign language. Second Language Research, 19(10), 443-463. doi:10.1177/0267658315576822 (IF: 1.568).
  • Ortega, G. & Morgan, G. (2015). Phonological development in hearing learners of a sign language: The role of sign complexity and iconicity. Language Learning. 65 (3), 660-668. doi:10.1111/lang.12123 (IF: 1.869).
  • Ortega, G. & Morgan, G. (2015). The effect of sign iconicity in the mental lexicon of hearing non-signers and proficient signers: Evidence of cross-modal priming. Language Cognition and Neuroscience, 30(5), 574-585. doi:10.1080/23273798.2014.959533 (IF: 1.470).
  • Ortega, G. (2014). Acquisition of a signed phonological system by hearing adults: The role of sign structure and iconicity. Sign Language and Linguistics. 17(2), 267-275. doi:10.1075/sll.17.2.09ort.
  • Ortega, G. & Özyürek, A. (2013). Gesture-sign interface in hearing non-signers' first exposure to sign. In Proceedings of the Tilburg Gesture Research Meeting. Tilburg, The Netherlands.
  • Ortega, G. & Morgan, G. (2010). Comparing child and adult development of a visual phonological system. Language, Interaction and Acquisition. 1(1), 67-81. doi:10.1075/lia.1.1.05ort.
  • Ortega, G. (2010). MSJE TXT: un evento social [Text messaging: a social event]. Lectura y Vida. Revista latinoamericana de Lectura [Latin American Journal of Literacy]. 4, 44-53.

Conference proceedings

  • Ortega, G., Schiefner, A., & Ozyurek, A. (2017). Speakers’ gestures predict the meaning and perception of iconicity in signs. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howe, & T. Tenbrink (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017) (pp. 889-894). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Ortega, G., & Özyürek, A. (2016). Generalisable patterns of gesture distinguish semantic categories in communication without language. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016) (pp. 1182-1187). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Ortega, G., Sümer, B. & Özyürek, A. (2014). Type of iconicity matters: Bias for action based signs in sign language acquisition. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1114-1119). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

View all publications in research portal