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Connie de Vos -



Research interests

My research is focused on the unique questions that the emergence, the processing and the acquisition of sign languages allow us to address about the nature of our human linguistic capabilities in general.  I have used fieldwork-based language documentation, corpus analysis as well as experimental methods to address the following specific research areas:

  • The timing of turn-taking in the visual modality.
  • Social-cognitive development of infants and toddlers acquiring sign language natively.
  • Pragmatic and linguistic functions of facial expressions in signed conversations and how these diverge from co-speech gestures of the wider hearing community.
  • The emergence of signed contact pidgins in cross-sign settings.
  • The relationship between the social dynamics of signing communities and the linguistic structures of sign languages.
  • The unique contributions village sign languages - being language isolates - make to sign language typology.


Sign languages

I have analysed data from a diverse set of sign languages including  Kata Kolok, Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), as well as cross-signing, a signed contact pidgin used among deaf people who do not know a common sign language.




Current projects

The face in sign language interaction


Interactional Foundations of Language


Multilingual behaviours in sign language users (collaboration with Prof. Ulrike Zeshan - iSLanDS)


Past projects

Longitudinal Documentation of Sign Language Acquisition in a Deaf Village 

EuroBABEL project on Endangered sign languages in village communities

Time in Space

Language of Perception


Workshops organised

IASCL Symposium on Turn-taking and speech act attribution: from preverbal interaction to linguistic practice, Amsterdam, 15 July 2014

EuroBABEL workshop on Rural signing varieties: social dynamics and linguistic structure with Dr. Victoria Nyst (Leiden University), 7 November 2012

Workshop during the Endangered Languages Week on Sign Language Documentation for Field Linguists with Dr. Mandana Seyfeddinipur (SOAS) and Prof. Ulrike Zeshan (iSLanDS), 11 May 2012

EuroBABEL workshop on Kinship and Numeral systems from Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Modal Perspectives with Prof. Ulrike Zeshan, 15-16 September 2011

2nd NGC Spring Workshop The Role of Gesture and Sign in Language Emergence and Evolution with Prof. Asli Ozyurek, 19 April 2010


Personal information


Function: Research Staff

MPI group: Language and Cognition

Last checked 2015-09-23

Connie de Vos

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
PO Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands