Marie Coppola

Associate Professor

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
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




Contact Information
Mailing AddressUnit 1020
Office LocationBousfield 139