College of Science News

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Rebert D. Klein Lecture - Iris Berent

How human brains do language: one system, two channels

Contrary to popular belief, language is not limited to speech. In a recent study published in the journal PNAS, Northeastern University Prof. Iris Berent reveals that people also apply the rules of their spoken language to sign language.
Psychology professor Iris Berent and Provost James Bean

Take 5: What makes human language so special?

In the 52nd annual Robert D. Klein Lecture, psychology professor Iris Berent argued that human language is a product of a specialized biological system, that we are innately equipped with a language instinct.
Iris Berent

Which spoken language rules operate in ASL?

Research on spoken languages has shown that they rely on the human brain’s ability to unconsciously encode patterns in speech in the form of abstract rules. But do those same rules operate in American Sign Language?

Language Structure… You’re Born with It

Humans are unique in their ability to acquire language. But how? A new study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences shows that we are in fact born with the basic fundamental knowledge of language, thus shedding light on the age-old linguistic “nature vs. nurture” debate.