Marie Coppola

Degree: Ph.D., 2002, University of Rochester
Research Interests: Language emergence, homesign, cognitive development, number cognition, sign language structure, language acquisition
Research Synopsis: Dr. Coppola studies language acquisition and language creation as well as the relationship between language and cognition, as revealed by D/deaf individuals who vary in their experience with language. She is particularly interested in how early exposure to language fosters typical development in social cognition and numerical cognition.
  • PSYC 2400 Developmental Psychology


  • PSYC 3470 Modality Issues in Development (Current Topics in Developmental Psychology)


  • PSYC 5420 Cognitive Development


  • PSYC 5441 Language Modality, Neural Plasticity, and Development
Students in Research: This professor will be considering new students for entry into the graduate program in Fall 2017.

Undergraduate students who are interested in participating in the lab’s research projects should submit responses to the questions on the lab website.

Recent publications: Brentari, D., M. Coppola, P. W. Cho, and A. Senghas. (accepted). Handshape complexity as a precursor to phonology: Variation, emergence, and acquisition. Language Acquisition.


Coppola, M. and D. Brentari. (2014). From iconic handshapes to grammatical contrasts: Longitudinal evidence from a child homesigner. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 830. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00830. Also published as an E-book: Language by mouth and by hand.


Richie, R., C. Yang, and M. Coppola. (2014). Modeling the emergence of lexicons in homesign systems. Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(1), 183-195. doi: 10.1111/tops.12076

Representative Publications: Brentari, D., M. Coppola, A. Jung, and S. Goldin-Meadow. (2013). Acquiring word class distinctions in American Sign Language: Evidence from handshape. Language Learning & Development, 9(2): 130-150. doi:10.1080/15475441.2012.679540


Coppola, M., E. Spaepen, and S. Goldin-Meadow. (2013). Communicating about number without a language model: Number devices in homesign grammar. Cognitive Psychology, 67: 1-25. doi: 10.1016:j.cogpsych. 2013.05.003


Coppola, M. and A. Senghas. (2010). Deixis in an emerging sign language. In Sign Languages: A Cambridge Language Survey, 543-569. D. Brentari, ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Coppola, M. and E. L. Newport. (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. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0509306102

Professional Activities:  Sign Language Typology Book Series, Editors: Coppola, M., Crasborn, O., and U. Zeshan, Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton.


Research Funding:


NSF (Education and Human Resources, Linguistics) 1553589 “CAREER: The impact of language experience on the development of number representations in deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children” 2016-2021




American Association of University Professors, UConn Chapter Excellence in Research and Creativity Early Career Award, 2016