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Prof Bencie Woll
2.03
DCAL
49 Gordon Square
London
WC1H 0PD
Prof Bencie Woll profile picture
Appointment
  • Honorary Professor
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Biography

I am a linguist by training, obtaining a BA in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Theoretical Linguistics from the University of Essex and a PhD from the University of Bristol. I have been involved in research on sign language for nearly 40 years, starting with research at the University of Bristol where I was a co-founder of the Centre for Deaf Studies, pioneering research on the linguistics of BSL and on Deaf Studies. I moved to City University London in 2005 to take up the first ever Chair in Sign Language and Deaf Studies in the UK. From City University I moved in 2005 to UCL, where I was Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies until my retirement in 2019. In 2006, together with colleagues at UCL and City, I founded DCAL, and served as Diector until 2016.I was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012 and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2016. I now hold an Honorary Professorship at UCL.

Research Summary

My research and teaching interests embrace a wide range of topics related to sign language, including the linguistics of British Sign Language (BSL) and other sign languages, the history and sociolinguistics of BSL and the Deaf community, the development of BSL in young children, and sign language and the brain, including developmental and acquired sign language impairments.

I have held nearly £15,000,000 in grants from UK, European and international sources, as Principal or Co-Investigator. As well as publishing the results of this research in a large number of journal articles, I have co-authored and co-edited a number of books, including Sign Language: the study of Deaf People and their Language with Jim Kyle, and The Linguistics of BSL: an Introduction with Rachel Sutton-Spence (winner of the 1999 Deaf Nation Award and 2000 British Association of Applied Linguistics Book Prize), Sign Language: an International Handbook (with Roland Pfau and Markus Steinbach), Sign Language Acquisition (with Anne Baker), Directions in sign language acquisition research (with Gary Morgan), The Signs of a Savant: Language Against the Odds (with Gary Morgan, Neil Smith and Ianthi Tsimpli) and Research Methods in Sign Language Studies: A Practical Guide (with Eleni Orfanidou and Gary Morgan).




Teaching Summary

I teach modules on Sign Linguistics, and on Deafness, Cognition and Language within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences as well as supervising MPhil and PhD students.

Appointments
01-JAN-2019 Honorary Professor Deafness Cognition & Language Research Centre University College London, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2005 – 31-DEC-2018 Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies Deafness Cognition & Language Research Centre University College London, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1995 – 31-JUL-2005 Professor, Chair of SIgn Language and Deaf Studies Language & Communication Sciences City University London, United Kingdom
01-DEC-1994 – 31-AUG-1995 Sr Lecturer & Director Access for Deaf Students Initiive University of Bristol, United Kingdom
01-JAN-1992 – 31-DEC-1993 Lecturer and Director of Studies Centre for Deaf Studies University of Bristol, United Kingdom
01-JAN-1973 – 31-DEC-1991 Research Assistant, Associate, Fellow School of Education & Centre for Deaf Studies University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1992   Doctor of Philosophy University of Bristol
1971   Master of Arts University of Essex
1970   Bachelor of Arts University of Pennsylvania
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