Beyza Sumer

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As a researcher, I am interested in the broad question of whether and in which ways language modality (visual-spatial versus auditory-vocal) shapes human communication, cognition and language development. More specifically, I am interested in language processing, use and learning not only in typical situations, but also atypical situations (e.g., late language exposure and its effects on language development, language development with non-native language input) and at different domains such as comprehension, production, visual attention (i.e., eye-tracking studies).

In my Ph.D. dissertation , I investigated how modality of language (signed versus spoken) modulates the expression of spatial relations between the entities and influences the course of spatial language acquisition for signing and speaking children.

Upon completion of my Ph.D. studies, I was awarded with a 2-year post-doctoral research funding by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Co-funded Brain Circulation Scheme, 2015-2017), which enabled me to continue my scholarly work at Prof Aylin Küntay’s Language and Communication Development Lab at Koç University  in Turkey. This research has led to the online adaptation of MacArthur-Bates Communication Development Inventory (CDI) for Turkish Sign Language (TID), which is the first of its kind for this language. The outcomes of this project have also initiated the creation of the cartoon series (Elfeneri), which aims to teach early vocabulary items to 2-5-year-old deaf children in TID. This series, for which I serve as the head of advisory board, is funded by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). Flashlight will be broadcast as of February 1 2022 on TRT.