A black and white picture of Natasha from the shoulders up wearing glasses, a knit scarf and hat, and a jacket; looking thoughtfully away from the camera to the right. The camera is angled slightly up over Natasha's left shoulder towards a large, regal dome of a historical building.

Natasha Abner

Assistant Professor

Department of Linguistics

University of Michigan



I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.

My research focuses on the structure of human language, with a particular emphasis on the structural properties of signed languages. I am interested in how modality of production and perception does and does not affect language structure. Thus, I ask what properties signed languages have because they're signed but also what properties signed languages have because they're language.

I am also interested in the role of language in multi-modal human communication, the emergence and development of language in individuals and communities, and in the relationships between communication and cognition. I sate these interests with studies of homesign, Nicaraguan Sign Language, and gesture.

"It is so much easier to believe than to think; it is astounding how much more believing is done than thinking." - James Kemper