Answer key: Sign Language Universal in the Human Mind?

Lesson Plan:  Is Sign Language Universal in the Human Mind?

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

  1. denote |diˈnōt|  verb-stand as a name or symbol for: the unknown is denoted by X
  2. distinction |disˈtiNGkSHən| noun-a difference or contrast between similar things or people: there is a sharp distinction between domestic politics and international politics
  3. inherently |inˈhi(ə)rənt, -ˈher-|adjective-existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute: any form of mountaineering has its inherent dangers | the symbolism inherent in all folk tales.
  4. complex  |kämˈpleks, kəmˈpleks,| adjective-not easy to analyze or understand; complicated or intricate: a complex personality | the situation is more complex than it appears.
  5. universal  |ˌyo͞onəˈvərsəl| adjective-of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases: the incidents caused universal concern.
  6. recruit |riˈkro͞ot| verb [ with obj. ] enroll (someone) as a member or worker in an organization or as a supporter of a cause: there are plans to recruit more staff later this year.
  7. Participant |pärˈtisəpənt| noun-a person who takes part in something: eager students would become firsthand participants in an archaeological exploration.
  8. confined  |kənˈfīn| [ verb with obj. ] keep or restrict someone or something within certain limits of (space, scope, quantity, or time):| you’ve confined yourself to what you know.
  9. indication |ˌindiˈkāSHən|  noun-a sign or piece of information that indicates something: the visit was an indication of the improvement in relations between the countries.
  10. notion |ˈnōSHən| noun-a conception of or belief about something: children have different notions about the roles of their parents | I had no notion of what her words meant.

Source: New Oxford American Dictionary  

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

One question is whether the ability to distinguish them is hard-wired into the human brain. Academics such as Noam Chomsky, a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believe that humans are born with a linguistic framework onto which a mother tongue is built. Elizabeth Spelke, a psychologist up the road at Harvard, has gone further, arguing that humans inherently have a broader “core knowledge” made up of various cognitive and computational capabilities. 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage


“Decide” is what is known as a telic verb.


The volunteers reported having no prior experience of sign languages.


But the present findings are a good sign.