For people who have grown up being able to hear, it's easy to equate language with speech - the audible conversations that make up so much of human day-to-day communication. However, for some 70 million people around the world, these types of conversations happen in silence. Stephanie Berk, a postdoctoral research associate in linguistics and neurology, studies the linguistics of sign language and has worked with children who - because parents were at first unaware of their child's deafness - began learning their first language later in life. In collaboration with the Washington University School of Medicine, she is now beginning to look into the human brain to see what American Sign Language (ASL) can reveal about how humans learn and process any language, whether spoken or seen.
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