Coppola, M. & A. Senghas. (accepted). Is it language (yet)? The allure of the gesture-language binary. Commentary on S. Goldin-Meadow & D. Brentari, Gesture, sign and language: The coming of age of sign language and gesture studies. Behavioral & Brain Sciences.

Jenkins, T., Coehlo, C., Coppola, M. (accepted). Effects of gesture restriction on quality of narrative discourse. Gesture.

Gagne, D., and Coppola, M. (under review). Visible social interactions do not support theory of mind development in the absence of linguistic input: Evidence from deaf adult homesigners.

Coppola, M., M. Hall, N. Caselli, and K. Gökgöz. (in prep). Unconfounding deafness and language deprivation: A critical review of recent research with deaf children.

Richie, R. and Coppola, M. (in prep). Language development, change, and emergence: Integrating computational, experimental, and naturalistic evidence.

Coppola, M. (in prep). The origins of words in sign languages.


Brentari, D., M. Coppola, P. W. Cho, and A. Senghas. (2017). Handshape complexity as a precursor to phonology: Variation, emergence, and acquisition. Language Acquisition, 1-24. DOI:10.1080/10489223.2016.1187614

Carrigan, E. M., & Coppola, M. (2017). Successful communication does not drive language development: Evidence from adult homesign. Cognition158, 10-27.


Hall, M., R. Richie, and M. Coppola. (2016). The impact of communicative network structure on the conventionalization of referring expressions in gesture. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11).

Carrigan E. and M. Coppola. (2016). Interaction alone cannot support the emergence of a spatial agreement system in a paired interaction context. In S. Roberts & G. Mills (Eds.) In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11), Language Adapts to Interaction Workshop.

Rissman, L., L. Horton, M. Flaherty, D. Brentari, S. Goldin-Meadow, A. Senghas, and M. Coppola. (2016). Strategies in gesture and sign for demoting an agent: Effects of language community and input. In The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG11).


Horton, L., Goldin-Meadow, S., Coppola, M., Senghas, A., and D. Brentari. (2015). Forging a morphological system out of two dimensions: Agentivity and number. Open Linguistics, 1(1), 596–613. doi: 10.1515/opli-2015-0021.

Goldin-Meadow, S., Brentari, D., Coppola, M., Horton, L., and A. Senghas. (2015). Watching language grow in the manual modality: How the hand can distinguish between nouns and verbs. Cognition, 136, 381-395. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.11.029

Coppola, M. (2015). The effects of language experience on number representations: Explaining (and
improving) deaf and hard of hearing children’s poor mathematical performance. Sign Language Colloquium, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Coppola, M. (2015). Language access, cognitive development, and education: Challenges facing deaf children in Nicaragua. Global Summit: Early Development, Health, and Learning Among At-Risk Children: Seeing a Global Perspective, Haskins Laboratories, Yale University and University of Connecticut, New Haven, CT.

Coppola, M. (2015). Where do words come from?: Social interactions and conventionalization of the lexicon in an emerging sign language in Nicaragua. [presented in Spanish: ¿De donde vienen las palabras?: Interacciones sociales y convencionalización del léxico en una lengua de señas emergente de Nicaragua.] First International Workshop on Emerging Sign Languages in the Americas, Center for Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico City, Mexico.

Coppola, M. (2015). Expressing meaning in emerging languages: Evidence from homesign and Nicaraguan Sign Language. Workshop on Sign Language Meaning and Cognition. European Research Council and New York University, New York, NY.

Coppola, M. (2015). Unexpected routes to language: Evidence from child and adult homesigners. Workshop on Emerging Languages and the Big Picture. Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA.


Richie, R., Coppola, M., and Yang, C. (2014). Emergence of Natural Language Lexicons: Empirical and Modeling Evidence from Homesign and Nicaraguan Sign Language. Proceedings of the 38th Boston University Conference in Language Development.

Coppola, M. and D. Brentari. (2014). Longitudinal evidence for the emergence of phonological properties in a homesigner. Invited submission to special issue of Frontiers in Language Sciences: Language by mouth and hand.

Richie, R., Yang, C., and Coppola, M. (2014). Modeling the emergence of lexicons in homesign systems. Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(1), 183-195.

Applebaum, L., Coppola, M., Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). Prosody in a communication system developed without a language model. Sign Language & Linguistics. 17(2), 181-212.


Spaepen, E., Coppola, M., Flaherty, M., Spelke, E., Goldin-Meadow, S. (2013). Generating a lexicon without a language model: Do words for number count? Journal of Memory and Language, 69(4), 496-505.

Brentari, D., Coppola, M., Jung, A. & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2013). Acquiring word class distinctions in American Sign Language: Evidence from handshape. Language Learning & Development, 9(2), 130-150.

Coppola, M., Spaepen, E., Goldin-Meadow, S. (2013). Communicating about quantity without a language model: Number devices in homesign grammar.  Cognitive Psychology, 67, 1-25.

Richie, R., Fanghella, J., and Coppola, M. (2013). Emergence of lexicons in family-based homesign systems in Nicaragua. In L. Geer (Ed.) Proceedings of the 13th annual Texas Linguistics Society Meeting, Austin, TX.

Richie, R., Yang, C., & Coppola, M. (2013). Modeling the emergence of lexicons in homesign systems. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Cognitive Science Society Conference (pp. 1223-1228), Berlin, Germany: Cognitive Science Society.


The following is a review of a volume which is part of a series that Dr. Coppola edits: Hou, L. Y-S. (2012). Review of Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and Linguistic Insights.  Editors: U. Zeshan & C. de Vos. Volume 4 in the Sign Language Typology Book Series, Coppola, M., Crasborn, O. & Zeshan, U. (Eds.)

Brentari D., Coppola M. (2012). What sign language creation teaches us about language. WIREs Cognitive Science,  doi: 10.1002/wcs.1212

Brentari, D., Coppola, M., Mazzoni, L., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2012). When does a system become phonological? Handshape production in gesturers, signers, and homesigners. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 30(1): 1-31.

Carrigan, E. & Coppola, M. (2012). Mothers do not drive structure in adult homesign systems:Evidence from comprehension.In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper, (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1398-1403). Sapporo, Japan: Cognitive Science Society.

Richie, R., Fanghella, J., and Coppola, M. (2012, June). Emergence of lexicons in family-based homesign systems inNicaragua. Paper presented at the 13th annual Texas Linguistics Society Meeting, Austin, TX.

2011 and earlier

Spaepen, E., Coppola, M., Spelke, E., Carey, S., and Goldin-Meadow, S. (2011). Number without a language model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(8): 3163-3168.

Coppola, M. and Senghas, A. (2010). The emergence of deixis in Nicaraguan signing. In D. Brentari (Ed.) Sign Languages: A Cambridge Language Survey. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Coppola, M., & So., W. C. (2006). The seeds of spatial grammar: Spatial modulation and coreference in homesigning and hearing adults. In D. Bamman, T. Magnitskaia, & C. Zaller (Eds.) Proceedings of the 30th Boston University Conference on Language Development, (pp. 119-130). Boston: Cascadilla Press.

Coppola, M. and Newport, E. L. (2005). Grammatical Subjects in home sign: Abstract linguistic structure in adult primary gesture systems without linguistic input. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(52), 19249-19253.

Coppola, M., and So, W. C. (2005). Abstract and Object-Anchored Deixis: Pointing and spatial layout in adult homesign systems in Nicaragua. In A. Brugos, M. R. Clark-Cotton, and S. Ha, (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Boston University Conference on Language Development, (pp. 144-155). Boston: Cascadilla Press.

So, W.C., Coppola, M., Licciardello, V., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2005). The seeds of spatial grammar in the manual modality. Cognitive Science, 29, 23-37.

Coppola, M. (2002). The emergence of the grammatical category of Subject in home sign: Evidence from family-based gesture systems in Nicaragua. PhD. Dissertation, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Senghas, A., & Coppola, M. (2001). Children creating language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language acquired a spatial grammar. Psychological Science, 12(4), 323-328.

Kegl, J., Senghas, A., and Coppola, M. (1999). Creation through contact: Sign language emergence and sign language change in Nicaragua. In M. DeGraff (Ed.) Language creation and language change: Creolization, diachrony, and development (pp. 179-237). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Senghas, A., Coppola, M., Newport, E., Supalla, T. (1997). Argument structure in Nicaraguan Sign Language: The emergence of grammatical devices. Proceedings of the Boston University Conference on Language Development, 21: 550-561. Boston: Cascadilla Press.

Ullman, M., Corkin, S., Coppola, M., Hickok, G., Growdon, Koroshetz, W. J., & Pinker, S. (1997). A neural dissociation within language: Evidence that the mental dictionary is part of declarative memory, and that grammatical rules are processed by the procedural system. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 266-276.

Kim, J., Marcus, G., Pinker, S., Hollander, M., & Coppola, M. (1994). Sensitivity of children’s inflectionto grammatical structure. Journal of Child Language, 21, 173-209.


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