Marie Coppola

Associate Professor & DEV Program Head

Joint appointment in the Department of Linguistics

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 5440 Development of Language
  • PSYC 5441 Language Modality, Neural Plasticity, and Development
Recent publications: Goodwin, C., Carrigan, E., Walker, K., & Coppola, M. (2021). Language not auditory experience is related to parent‐reported executive functioning in preschool‐aged deaf and hard‐of‐hearing children. Child Development., 0.

Gagne, D. & Coppola, M. (2020). pdf Literacy in Emerging Sign Language Communities: The Impact of Social, Political, and Educational Resources. The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies in Literacy. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197508268.013.25

Russell, R., M.L. Hall, P. Whan Cho, & M. Coppola. (2020). pdf Converging evidence: Network structure effects on conventionalization of gestural referring expressions. Language Dynamics and Change10, 259-290. DOI: 10.1163/22105832-bja10008

Abner, N., M. Flaherty, K. Stangl, M. Coppola, D. Brentari, & S. Goldin-Meadow. (2019).pdf. The noun-verb distinction in established and emergent sign systems. Language, 95(2), 230-267. DOI: 10.1353/lan.2019.0030 *Awarded Best Paper in Language, 2019


Representative Publications: 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.


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 œCAREER: The impact of language experience on the development of number representations in deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children 2016-2021




Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), 2019

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



Contact Information
Mailing AddressUnit 1020
Office LocationBousfield 139