Gerardo Ortega

Colleges, School and Institutes

Biography

Gerardo completed his PhD at the Deafness, Language and Cognition Research Centre at University College London under the supervision of Gary Morgan and Bencie Woll. He then took a position as postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands under the supervision of Asli Ozyurek. After six years in the Netherlands, he accepted a lecturer position at the department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. In addition ot his research projects, Gerardo is actively engaged in the research community and contributes as ad hoc reviewer for journals and funding agencies including Sign Language and Linguistics, Second Language Research, Language Learning, Cognition. Psychological Science, and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.

Research interests

The main focus of his research is to explore the underlying mechanims behind the acquisition of a sign language. He primarily focuses on how hearing people - who already master a spoken language - go on to acquire a sign language as second language. He has also worked on sign language learning by deaf children. Using a wide range of techinques such as as naturalistic observation, behavioural tasks, and electrophysiological methods, he has investigated how iconicity and gesture contribute to sign learning and processing. In a different line of research he has also investigates how the different strategies to communicate with iconic gesture may serve as scaffolding for language emergence and evolution. He has carried out extensive research in different sign languages (British Sign Language, Sign Language of the Netherlands, Turkish Sign Language, and Mexican Sign Language) as well as cross-cultural studies in gesture production and comprehension.

Willingness to take PhD students

Yes

PhD projects

I am always interested in discussing the possibility of supervising PhD students to pursue research on the acquisition of sign languages as a second or first language, sign language processing, the interface between gesture and sign.

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