PEN Distinguished Lecture Series

The PEN Distinguished Lecture Series in Educational Neuroscience was created in association with the Foundations Proseminar course for graduate students in the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program. Since its inception, the series has grown!

The lecture series focuses on the intersection of the Science of Learning (learning across the lifespan) and Educational Neuroscience (learning across early life). Scientists and researchers who are pioneers in the fields of Cognitive-Educational Neuroscience, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and Child Development come to Gallaudet University's campus to talk about their research.

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All lectures are open to the public and are video recorded for online distribution.

PEN DLS brochure for 2022-2023

Iconicity and Human Languages

Thursday, 22 October 2020
Headshot of Dr. Carol Padden
Dr. Carol Padden

It is typical to describe iconicity as a property exclusive to sign languages, but spoken languages have iconicity as well. I discuss the role of iconicity in human languages, then how it interacts with sign language grammars. Using examples from different sign languages around the world, including the very large (ASL) and the very small (Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language), I show how grammars of different sign languages create different kinds of iconicity. That is, grammars shape and carve out iconic space - rather than the other way around - that iconicity shapes sign language grammars.

Dr. Carol Padden has been on the faculty at University of California, San Diego in the Department of Communication since 1983, when she earned her Ph.D. from the university’s Department of Linguistics.

Dr. Padden, who holds the Sanford I. Berman Chair in Language and Human Communication. She served as associate dean and faculty equity advisor in the Division of Social Sciences from 2008 to 2013. In 2014, she was tapped to be the Dean in the Division of Social Sciences.

As dean, Dr. Padden leads a dynamic and highly ranked academic division spanning 10 academic departments and 6 interdisciplinary programs, with student enrollments totaling over 90,000 in the last year. The division has over 900 majors, consisting nearly 40% of all majors at UC San Diego.

Among the most recent initiatives in the division are new majors in Real Estate and Development, Education, and Climate Change. Dr. Padden’s areas of research include language emergence, sign language structure, and cultural life in deaf communities. With her husband, Professor Tom Humphries, she is a co-author of 2 textbooks on American Sign Language and 2 books on deaf communities in the US.

She is a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. In 2010, she received a MacArthur Fellowship.