1. Events
  2. 2017
  3. November
  4. Learning British Sign Language: Bridging Research & Practice




Learning British Sign Language: Bridging Research & Practice


Public, Staff, Students, Alumni, Academics

Compared with research in second language acquisition (SLA) of spoken language much less is understood about signed SLA and what is similar or different. Similar patterns could be, for example, that sign language learner errors are linked to ‘transfer’.Transfer is the influence of the first language on the second language being learned. Transfer can result in errors as well as helping learning (positive transfer).

It is also not clear if signed languages are learned as second languages following similar stages and strategies as have been proposed for spoken language SLA. More specific patterns in sign SLA might be the result of the visual modality and iconicity. We will explore some of these issues in this event as well as give learners the experience of trying to recognise and remember different structures in a new signed language.

This event, as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, will involve:

1) Presentations from two key speakers: Professor Christian Rathmann and Dr. Gerardo Ortega
2) Engaging activities/teaching basic BSL.

This event will have BSL, IS and English interpretation.

Tea/Coffee will be provided.

About the speakers

Professor Christian Rathmann
Dr. Christian Rathmann is professor in the Section for Deaf Studies and sign language interpreting at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany where he directs BA & MA programs in Deaf Studies and sign language interpreting. Moreover, he co-directs two professional training programs in Deaf interpreting/Translation and sign language education at Universität Hamburg, Germany. His ongoing research projects include (but not limited to) interpreting & translation studies, linguistics for signed languages (esp. sign language corpus), LI/12 acquisition, sign language learning & teaching and Deaf Studies.

Dr. Gerardo Ortega
Gerardo’s research explores different aspects related to the acquisition and processing of sign languages. He has explored how iconic signs, those that resemble the concept they represent, influence the acquisition of different aspect of vocabulary development in the manual modality. Using a wide range of experimental paradigms, his research has looked at Mexican Sign Language (LSM), British Sign Language (BSL) Turkish Sign Language (TID), and Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). In 2014, he was awarded a three-year grant for the project that investigates the role of gesture during the acquisition of a sign language as a second language. In this collaborative project with Prof Aslı Özyürek, he has used behavioural and electrophysiological methods to investigate how gesture and iconicity influence the production and perception of sign at first exposure of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) in second language learners.

Share this event

When & where

5.00pm - 7.00pmFriday 10th November 2017

B200 University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom