Language, Gesture, and Cognition







【第一場次】: 2022/05/05 (四) 09:30

主持人/ 徐嘉慧 Kawai Chui (國立政治大學英國語文學系特聘教授)

Lecture 1: The Mind Hidden in Our Hands

Gesture is versatile in form and function. Under certain circumstances, gesture can substitute for speech, and when it does, it embodies the properties of language that children themselves bring to language learning, and underscores the resilience of language itself. Under other circumstances, gesture can form a fully integrated system with speech. When it does, it both predicts and promotes learning, and underscores the resilience of gesture in thinking. Together, these lines of research show how much of our minds is hidden in our hands.


手勢具有多樣的形式與功能。在 一些情況下手勢可以代替語言,而手勢具有語言的特性給兒童帶來語言學習,也展現語言自身之適應力。其他情況下手勢可以與話構成完全的整合系統,當手勢結合說話,手勢既可預期又可促進學習,思維亦呈現於手勢。這些研究顯示了許多思維隱藏在手中。

【第二場次】: 2022/05/26 (四) 09:00

主持人/ 徐嘉慧 Kawai Chui (國立政治大學英國語文學系特聘教授)

Lecture 2: Gesture’s Role in Creating and Learning Language

Imagine a child who has never seen or heard any language at all. Would such a child be able to invent a language on her own? Despite what one might guess, the answer to this question is “yes”. I describe children who are congenitally deaf and cannot learn the spoken language that surrounds them. In addition, they have not yet been exposed to sign language, either by their hearing parents or their oral schools. Nevertheless, the children use their hands to communicate––they gesture––and those gestures take on many of the forms and functions of language. The properties of language that we find in the deaf children’s gestures are just those properties that do not need to be handed down from generation to generation, but can be reinvented by a child de novo. They are the resilient properties of language, properties that all children, deaf or hearing, come to language-learning ready to develop.

In contrast to these deaf children who are inventing a language with their hands, hearing children are learning language from a linguistic model. But they too produce gestures. Indeed, young hearing children often use gesture to communicate before they use words. Interestingly, changes in a child’s gestures not only predate but also predict changes in the child’s early language, suggesting that gesture may be playing a role in the language-learning process. For example, gesture could influence language-learning by eliciting from adults the kinds of words and sentences that the child needs to hear in order to take the next linguistic step. Gesture thus not only reflects the language-learning stages through which a young child passes––it may play a role in language-learning itself.




【第三場次】: 2022/06/02 (四) 09:00

主持人/ 徐嘉慧 Kawai Chui (國立政治大學英國語文學系特聘教授)

Lecture 3: What Small Data from Gesture Can Tell Us about the Resilience of Language that Big Data Can’t

Children learn the languages to which they are exposed. Understanding how they accomplish this feat requires that we not only know as much as we can about the linguistic input they receive, but also about the architecture of the minds that process this input. But because linguistic input has such a massive, and immediate, effect on the language children acquire, it is difficult to determine whether children come to language learning with biases and, if so, what those biases are—and getting more and more data about linguistic input won’t solve the problem. Examining children who are not able to make use of the linguistic input that surrounds them does, however, allow us to discover the biases that children bring to language learning. The properties of language that such children develop are not only central to human language, but also provide hints about the kind of mind that is driven to structure communication in this way. This talk describes congenitally deaf individuals who cannot learn the spoken language that surrounds them and have not been exposed to sign language by their hearing families. Individuals in these circumstances use their hands to communicate––they gesture––and those gestures, called homesigns, take on many, but not all, of the forms and functions of languages that have been handed down from generation to generation. I first describe properties of language that are found in homesign. I next consider properties not found in homesign and I explore conditions that could lead to their development, first, in a naturally occurring situation of language emergence (Nicaraguan Sign Language) and, then, in an experimentally induced situation of language emergence (silent gesturers asked to communicate using only their hands). My goal is to shed light on the type of cognitive system that can not only pick up regularities in the input but, if necessary, also create a communication system that shares many properties with established languages.


孩童學習他們所接觸的語言,要瞭解他們如何完成此一壯舉,我們不僅需要盡可能瞭解孩子接收到的語言輸入,還需要瞭解處理這些輸入的思維結構。語言輸入對兒童學到的語言有巨大和直接的影響,但難以確定兒童是否帶著偏好來學習語言,如果帶著偏好,這些偏好是甚麼——即使蒐集更多的語言輸入,並不能回答這個問題。 然而,細看那些無法使用周遭語言輸入的孩子可以讓我們看到語言學習的偏好。這些孩童做手勢並發展出的語言特性不僅是人類語言的核心,而且是探究建構人類溝通思維的線索。這次演講講述無法學習周遭口語,也沒有透過具有聽力的家人接觸到手語的先天聾啞者,他們用手進行交流——他們做手勢,這些手勢稱為 homesigns,承載許多代代相傳的語言形式和功能。演講談到 homesign 的語言特性,未呈現在 homesign 的特性,並探討兩種情境下其發展的可能條件,首先是語言自然呈現的情境 (尼加拉瓜手語),接著是在實驗誘導的情境下呈現的語言 (參與者僅用手進行交流),瞭解認知系統不僅辨識輸入訊息的規律性,並且在需要時可以建構與一般語言有著許多共同特性的溝通系統。

【第四場次】: 2022/06/16 (四) 09:00

主持人/ 徐嘉慧 Kawai Chui (國立政治大學英國語文學系特聘教授)

Lecture 4: From Action to Abstraction: Gesture as a mechanism of change

The spontaneous gestures that people produce when they talk have been shown to reflect a speaker’s thoughts––they can index moments of cognitive instability and reflect thoughts not yet found in speech. But gesture can go beyond reflecting thought to play a role in changing thought––the gestures we see others produce, and the gestures we ourselves produce, can each change our thoughts. In this talk, I consider whether gesture brings about these changes because it is itself an action and thus brings action into our mental representations. I provide evidence for this hypothesis but suggest that it’s not the whole story. Gesture is a special kind of action––it spatializes ideas, even ideas that are inherently non-spatial, and it is representational and thus more abstract than direct action on objects. Gesture’s representational properties may thus allow it to play a role in learning by facilitating the transition from action to abstract ideas.


人們在說話時自然產生的手勢可以反映說話者的思想——手勢可顯示認知不穩定的時刻、表達話語中未說出的想法。手勢除了反映思想,還可以改變思想——他人使用的手勢和自己使用的手勢都可改變思維。 這次演講討論手勢帶來的改變是否因為手勢本身是動作而把動作帶入心理表徵。有證據支持這個假設但並非全貌。手勢是一種特殊的動作,可將想法空間化,儘管想法在本質上不具空間性;手勢具有表示性 (representational),相較於實際對物件做出的動作,手勢較為抽象。因此,在學習中手勢可促進動作轉化為抽象的概念。

【第五場次】: 2022/06/09 (四) 09:00


Workshop: Language, Gesture, and Cognition


曾志朗 Ovid J. L. Tzeng
中央研究院 院士
Academician, Academic Sinica

Title: From Sign to Script: Effects of Linguistic Experience on Perceptual Categorization

戴浩一 James H.-Y. Tai
Chair Professor, Graduate Institute of Linguistics
National Chung Cheng University
Director of Research Center for Humanities and Social Science

Title: The Role of Gesture in Sign Language

徐嘉慧 Kawai Chui
Distinguished Professor, National Chengchi University

Title: Language and Gesture in Mandarin Chinese



Susan Goldin-Meadow 是芝加哥大學心理學系和人類發展委員會的 Beardsley Ruml 傑出貢獻教授。就讀史密斯學院時,她在日內瓦皮亞傑學院一年,引起對語言與思想之間關係的興趣,並繼續在賓夕法尼亞大學攻讀博士學位(1975 年獲得博士學位)。在賓夕法尼亞大學,她與 Lila Gleitman 和  Heidi Feldman 合作探索缺乏語言模型的孩子是否可以用手創造語言。她發現聾啞兒童的嚴重聽力損失使他們無法學習周遭的語言,他們具有聽力的父母也沒有讓他們接觸手語,孩子卻創造了像語言一樣具結構化特性的手勢系統。對於手勢如何用以溝通和思考,她研究具有聽力者一面說話一面做手勢,發現手勢可以傳達實質的訊息——這些資訊通常不會表達於話語中,而只要注意到,手勢可以向他人揭示心靈的秘密。

Goldin-Meadow 教授的研究獲得了美國國家科學基金會、斯賓塞基金會、出生缺陷基金會、國家兒童健康與人類發展協會,以及國家神經系統和溝通障礙與中風協會的資助。她曾擔任美國國家衛生研究院語言審查小組的成員,一直是 AAAS 語言學和語言科學部門的無任所成員,並且是國家研究委員會與醫學研究所贊助的整合兒童早期發展科學委員會的成員,出版了著作 Neurons to Neighborhoods。她亦是 AAAS,APS 和 APA(第三和第七部門)的研究員。2001年,她獲得古根漢和詹姆斯.麥基恩.卡特爾的獎助,出版著作 Resilience of Language 和 Hearing Gesture。此外,她與 Dedre Gentner 合作編輯 Language in Mind:  Advances in the Study of Language and Thought 一書。她曾獲得芝加哥大學伯靈頓北部教師研究所教學成就獎和 Llewellyn John 和 Harriet Manchester Quantrell 大學教學卓越獎。她目前是認知發展協會的主席,同時擔任由語言發展、語言學習和發展協會所贊助的新期刊的主編。 Goldin-Meadow 教授亦擔任發展領域計劃的主席。

Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology and Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago. A year spent at the Piagetian Institute in Geneva while an undergraduate at Smith College piqued her interest in the relationship between language and thought, interests she continued to pursue in her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. 1975). At Penn and in collaboration with Lila Gleitman and Heidi Feldman, she began her studies exploring whether children who lack a (usable) model for language can nevertheless create a language with their hands. She has found that deaf children whose profound hearing losses prevent them from learning the speech than surrounds them, and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign, invent gesture systems which are structured in language-like ways. This interest in how the manual modality can serve the needs of communication and thinking led to her current work on the gestures that accompany speech in hearing individuals. She has found that gesture can convey substantive information – information that is often not expressed in the speech it accompanies. Gesture can thus reveal secrets of the mind to those who pay attention.

Professor Goldin-Meadow’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the March of Dimes, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke. She has served as a member of the language review panel for NIH, has been a Member-at-Large to the Section on Linguistics and Language Science in AAAS, and was part of the Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development sponsored by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and leading to the book Neurons to Neighborhoods. She is a Fellow of AAAS, APS, and APA (Divisions 3 and 7). In 2001, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a James McKeen Cattell Fellowship which led to her two recently published books, Resilience of Language and Hearing Gesture. In addition, she edited Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought in collaboration with Dedre Gentner. She has received the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award for Graduate Teaching and the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago. She is currently the President of the Cognitive Development Society and the editor of the new journal sponsored by the Society for Language Development, Language Learning and Development. Professor Goldin-Meadow also serves as chair of the developmental area program.


E-Mail: nccuccs@gmail.com

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