Welcome to the sign language linguistics laboratory, directed by Professor Diane Brentari, where sign languages from around the world are studied to better understand their similarities and differences. We are also interested in comparing signed and spoken languages in order to better understand the human language capacity and better illuminate the properties that all languages share. Recent work has included projects on phonetics, phonology, morphology, and prosody.

Recent books by Brentari

2010 — Diane Brentari (Ed.) Sign Languages: A Cambridge Language Survey. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2010.

This thematic and geographic overview examines more than forty sign languages from around the world. It begins by investigating how sign languages have survived and been transmitted for generations, and then goes on to analyze the common characteristics shared by most sign languages: for example, how the use of the visual (rather than the auditory) system affects grammatical structures. The final section describes the phenomena of language variation and change.

2001 — Diane Brentari (Ed.) Foreign vocabulary in sign languages: A cross-linguistic investigation of word formation. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, 2001.

This book takes a close look at the ways that five sign languages borrow elements from the surrounding dominant spoken language community where each is situated. If offers careful analyses of semantic, morphosyntactic and phonological adaptation of forms taken from a source language (in this case a spoken language) and borrowed into a target sign language.

1998 — Steven Lapointe, Diane Brentari, and P. M. Farrell (Eds.) Morphology and its relation to phonology and syntax. CSLI Publications, Stanford University, 1998.

This volume explores key issues in current morphology and the interactions of morphology with phonology and syntax. The topics included are from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives. The papers, presented at a thematic workshop on this topic at UC-Davis, are complemented with replies to each of the papers and edited transcripts of the discussion that followed.

1998 — Diane Brentari. A prosodic model of sign language phonology. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998.

This book is intended in part to provide linguists and cognitive scientists who do not know sign language with a point of entry into the study of sign language phonology. At the same time, it presents a comprehensive theory of American Sign Language phonology (the Prosodic Model), while reviewing and building on alternative theories.