Centre for Language and Communication Science Research
Language and Communication Science

Gesture, Deafness and Sign Language Group

This group has pioneered research into both the typical and atypical development of sign language. A key area is the investigation of specific language impairment in signing children, and the group has developed the first standardised clinical assessment of language impairment in British Sign Language (BSL). Other themes include theory of mind in deaf children, reading and dyslexia in deaf children, and spoken versus sign language acquisition. The group has a further interest in the impact of acquired language and cognitive impairments on sign language. For example, it published the first investigations of aphasia in users of British Sign Language.

The group hosts part of the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) which is supported by a £5.5 million ESRC grant. It has also received grants from the Nuffield Foundation and the Alzheimer's Society (total income: £700,000). Read more about the project.



2013, Reading and Dyslexia in Deaf Children: the Special Case of Deaf Children who Sign. Ros Herman, Penny Roy, Fiona Kyle. Nuffield Foundation. £136,543

2011- 2016, Deafness Cognition and Language. Bencie Woll (Director, UCL), Gary Morgan (Deputy Director), Gabriella Vigliocco (Co Director, UCL), Mairéad MacSweeney (Co Director, UCL). ESRC. £4.5 million

2011-2012, Gesture use in people with aphasia. Naomi Cocks, Lucy Dipper, Gary Morgan. The Dunhill Medical Trust. £70,000

2011, Festival of Science debate and workshops: Bilingualism. Gary Morgan. ESRC £2000

2011-2014, Marie Curie Post Doctoral Fellowship. Wolfgang Mann. €245,000

2010- 2013, Overcoming obstacles to the early identification of dementia in the signing Deaf community. Alys Young*, John Keady*, Katherine Rogers*, Alistair Burns*, Bencie Woll**, Jo Atkinson**, Jane Marshall [* Manchester University; ** UCL]. The Alzheimer's Society. £197,716

2010, Reading and Dyslexia in Deaf Children: the Need for Normative Data. Ros Herman, Penny Roy. Nuffield Foundation. £142,000

2006-2009, The Segmentation of Sign Language: Native and Non Native Abilities. Gary Morgan. ESRC. £330,000

2005-2010, Deafness Cognition and Language. Bencie Woll (UCL), Gabriella Vigliocco (UCL), Ruth Campbell (UCL), Gary Morgan. ESRC. £3.4 million



Cocks, N., Dipper, L., Pritchard, M. & Morgan, G. (2013). The impact of impaired semantic knowledge on spontaneous iconic gesture production. Aphasiology

Mann, W., Roy, P., & Marshall, C. (2013). A look at the other 90 per cent: Investigating British Sign Language vocabulary knowledge in deaf children from different language learning backgrounds. Deafness & Education International, 15(2), 91-116. DOI: 10.1179/1557069X12Y.0000000017.


Haug, T., Hennies, J., & Mann, W. (2012). Deutsche Gebärdensprache und ihre Bedeutung für Kinder mit Cochlea Implantat [The importance of German Sign Language for deaf children with a cochlear implant]. Schnecke, 76, 14-16.

Meristo, M., Morgan, G., Geraci, A., Iozzi, L., Hjelmquist, E., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2012). Belief attribution in deaf and hearing infants. Developmental Science. Volume 15, Issue 5, pages 633-640, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01155.x

Mann, W. & Marshall, C. (2012). Investigating deaf children's vocabulary knowledge in British Sign Language.Language Learning, 62 (4),1024-1051.DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011.00670.x.

Marshall, C., Rowley, K., Mason, K., Herman, R. & Morgan, G. (2012). Lexical organization in deaf children who use British Sign Language: Evidence from a semantic fluency task. Journal of Child Language. 40(1):193-220, 2013

Woll, B. & Morgan, G. (2012). Language impairments in the development of sign: Do they reside in a specific modality or are they modality-independent deficits? Bilingualism, Language & Cognition, 15, 75-87.


Alton S, Herman R & Pring T (2011) smiLE therapy with deaf students. Child Language Teaching & Therapy. 27(3): 1-13. doi: 10.1177/0265659010381695.

Cocks, N., Morgan, G., & Kita, S. (2011). Iconic gesture and speech integration in younger and older adults. Gesture, 11(1), 24-39.

Cocks, N,. Dipper, L., Middleton, R. & Morgan, G. (2011) What can iconic gestures tell us about the language system? A case of conduction aphasia. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 46(4):423-436.

Enns, C. & Herman, R. (2011) Adapting the Assessing British Sign Language Development: Receptive Skills Test into American Sign Language. Journal of Deaf Studies & Deaf Education.16: 362-374. doi:10.1093/deafed/enr004.

Marshall, C,. Mann, W. & Morgan, G. (2011). Short-term memory in signed languages: Not just a disadvantage for serial recall. Front. Psychology 2:102, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00102


Ortega, G. & Morgan, G. (2010). Comparing child and adult development of a visual phonological system. Language Interaction and Acquisition.

Orfanidou, E., Adam, R., Morgan, G. & McQueen, J. (2010). Recognition of signed and spoken language: Different sensory inputs, the same segmentation procedure. Journal of Memory and Language. 62, 272-283.

Botting, N., Riches, N., Gaynor, M. & Morgan, G. (2010). Gesture production and comprehension in children with SLI. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 28(1), 51-69.

Mann, W., Marshall, C., Mason, K., & Morgan, G. (2010). The acquisition of sign language: the impact of phonetic complexity on phonology. Language Learning and Development 6, 60-86

Mason, K., Rowley, K., Marshall, C., Atkinson, J., Herman, R., Woll, B. & Morgan, G. (2010). Identifying Specific Language Impairments in Deaf children acquiring British Sign Language: implications for theory and practice. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 28, 33-49.

Woolfe T, Herman R, Roy P & Woll B (2010) Early vocabulary development in deaf native signers: a British Sign Language adaptation of the communicative development inventories. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51 (3), 322 -331. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02151


Cocks, N., Sautin, L., Kita, S., Morgan, G. & Zlotowitz, S. (2009). Gesture and speech integration: An exploratory study of a case of a man with aphasia. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 44, 795-804

Orfanidou, E., Adam, R. McQueen, J. & Morgan, G. (2009). Making sense of nonsense in British Sign Language (BSL): The contribution of different phonological parameters to sign recognition. Memory and Cognition 37, 302-315.

Tyrone M, Atkinson J, Marshall J and Woll B (2009) The Effects of Cerebellar Ataxia on Sign Language Production: A Case Study. Neurocase, 15 (5), 419 - 426.


Morgan, G., Herman, R., Barriere, I. & Woll, B. (2008). The onset and mastery of spatial language in children acquiring British Sign Language, Cognitive Development, 23, 1-9.


Morgan, G. & Woll, B. (2007). (editors Special Issue). Understanding signed language classifiers a polycomponential approach. Lingua. 117, 7 1159-1168