Sandra Benazzo, born in Rovigo, Italy, in 1967. Ph.D. from the University of Paris VIII. Associate Professor in Linguistics and French as a Second Language at the Université Lille III.
Fellow (1 September 2005 – 30 June 2006)
RESTRICTED LINGUISTIC SYSTEMS AS WINDOWS ON LANGUAGE GENESIS
At NIAS I was a member of the theme group “Restricted Linguistic Systems as Windows on Language Genesis”, coordinated by Rudie Botha. During my stay at the institute I applied the notion of “Windows on Language Genesis” to early second language varieties spontaneously developed by untutored learners. These are particularly relevant for language evolution to the extent that their initial properties are largely independent of the languages in contact (cf. the concept of Basic variety) and as such are assumed to reflect creative processes of the underlying human language faculty.
In the belief that any projection on language evolution would be reinforced if based on a larger empirical basis, I subsequently focused my research on possible comparisons with restricted linguistic systems resulting from different processes.
I was able to identify a similar developmental pattern and speculate on its relevance for language evolution by analyzing the expression of temporality in adult L2 varieties and home signs (i.e. the communicative systems created by deaf subjects not in contact with conventional sign languages).