Project E7: Critical periods for the acquisition of German and of German Sign Language: Is being multilingual of any advantage?
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Röder, Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Hänel, Institute for Disability Studies
Research Assistants: Monique Kügow, Uta Salden, Nils Skotara
Student Assistants: Melanie Drewke, Malwine Masius, Lutz Pepping
- Institut für Deutsche Gebärdensprache und Kommunikation Gehörloser (IDGS)
- Prof. Dr. Helen Neville, Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Oregon, USA
- Dr. Mairead MacSweeney, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK
Research questionsThe functional organization of German (written language) and of German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS) is studied in deaf and hearing people, who have learned DGS and German at different ages.
The following questions are leading our research project:
- How does the delayed acquisition of a first language (L1) influence the competence in and the cerebral organization of an L1?
- Are there quantitative and/or qualitative differences between a delayed L1 acquisition and a delayed L2 acquisition learned, at the same age?
The general aim of the project is to improve our understanding of the differences between developmental and adult plasticity. In particular, more precise information about critical periods for learning a language as L1 and as L2 will be gained. These results might help to improve early (language) education for the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children.
- Bavelier, D., Corina, D. P., & Neville, H. J. (1998). Brain and language: a perspective from sign language. Neuron, 21(2), 275-278.
- Bavelier, D., & Neville, H. J. (2002). Cross-modal plasticity: Where and how. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3, 443-452.
- Emmorey, K. (2002). Language, Cognition and the Brain. Insights from sign language research. LEA: Mahwah, NJ.
- Mayberry, R. I., & Lock, E. (2003). Age constraints on first versus second language acquisition: evidence for linguistic plasticity and epigenesis. Brain Lang, 87(3 ), 369-384.
- Mayberry, R. I., Lock, E., & Kazmi, H. (2002). Linguistic ability and early Language exposure. Nature, 417, 38.
- Neville, H. J. (1995). Developmental specificity in neurocognitive development in humans. M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 219-231.
- Neville, H. J., Bavelier, D., Corina, D., Rauschecker, J., Karni, A., Lalwani, A., Braun, A., Clark, V., Jezzard, P., & Turner, R. (1998). Cerebral organization for language in deaf and hearing subjects: Biological constraints and effects of experience. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 95(3), 922-929.
- Röder, B., & Neville, H. (2003). Developmental functional plasticity. J. Grafman, & I. Robertson (Eds.), Handbook of neuropsychology (Vol. 9). Elsevier
...Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology