Sherman Wilcox
Distinguished Professor, Emeritus

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Sherman Wilcox teaches undergraduate courses in the B.S. Degree in Signed Language Interpreting and graduate courses in Linguistics. His research focuses on signed language linguistics and typology, the relation of gesture and language, language evolution, Deaf culture, and cognitive theories of interpreting.

Educational History:

  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico

Research Interests:

  • Cognitive grammar approaches to signed language linguistics
  • Typological studies of grammatical modality in signed languages
  • Gesture and language
  • Language evolution

Selected Publications:

  • Wilcox, Sherman, André Nogueira Xavier, & Satu Siltaloppi. 2023. List constructions in two signed languages. Language & Cognition, 1-36.
  • Wilcox, Sherman, Rocío Martínez, & Diego Morales. 2022. The conceptualization of space in signed languages: Placing the signer in narratives. In Andreas Jucker & Heiko Hausendorf (eds.), Pragmatices of space (pp. 63-94). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 
  • Siyavoshi, Sara & Sherman Wilcox. 2021. Exerting control: the grammatical meaning of facial displays in signed languages. Cognitive Linguistics, 32(4), 609-639.
  • Wilcox, Sherman & Rocío Martínez. 2020. The conceptualization of space: Places in signed language discourse. Front. Psychol. 11:1406.
  • Martínez, Rocío & Sherman Wilcox. 2019. Pointing and placing: Nominal grounding in Argentine Sign Language. Cognitive Linguistics, 30(1), 85-121.
  • Wilcox, S. 2018. Ten lectures on cognitive linguistics and the unification of spoken and signed languages. Leiden: Brill. 
  • Wilcox, S., & Wilcox, P. P. (2013). Cognitive linguistics and signed languages. International Journal of Cognitive Linguistics, 3(2).
  • Wilcox, S., & Xavier, A. (2013). A framework for unifying spoken language, signed language, and gesture. Revista Todas as Letras.v.11, 88-110.
  • Wilcox, S., Rossini, P., & Antinoro Pizzuto, E. (2010). Grammaticalization in sign languages. In D. Brentari (Ed.), Sign languages (pp. 332-354). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wilcox, S., & Wilcox, P. P. (2009). The analysis of signed languages. In B. Heine & H. Narrog (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of linguistic analysis (Vol. 29, pp. 739-760). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Armstrong, D. F., & Wilcox, S. (2007). The gestural origin of language. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Wilcox, S. (2007). Signed languages. In D. Geeraerts & H. Cuyckens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics (pp. 1113-1136). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Wilcox, S., & Shaffer, B. (2006). Modality in American Sign Language. In W. Frawley (Ed.), The expression of modality (pp. 207-237). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Wilcox, S. (2004). Gesture and language: Cross-linguistic and historical data from signed languages. Gesture, 4(1), 43-75.

Conferences and Workshops

  • Presented 10 two-hour invited lectures in the China International Forum on Cognitive Linguistics, October 15-19, Beijing China (funded by Beihang University Grant for International Outstanding Scholars, all lectures to be published in print and DVD in Eminent Linguists Lecture Series, published in China by Beijing Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press).
  • “Language and Gesture: A Cognitive Synthesis.” Invited plenary address, Language, Culture, and Mind Conference. Lisbon, Portugal, June 2012.
  • Invited course “Setting Language in Motion” (5 days, 3 hours per day), University of Saõ Paulo, Brazil, June 2011.
  • “Language in Motion.” Invited plenary address, 4th conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies “Gesture: Evolution, Brain, and Linguistic Structures.” Frankfurt an der Oder, July 2010.


Dr. Wilcox serves on the editorial boards of Gesture, Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, and Sign Language Studies. He is the President of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association (2019 - ).

Teaching Interests:

Dr. Wilcox’s teaching interests are in signed language linguistics, cognitive linguistics, signed language interpreting theory, and Deaf culture. He enjoys exploring new topics in collaboration with students and using this experience to expand our knowledge of the human expressive ability as manifest through language, gesture, and other expressive systems.

Representative Courses:

  • Language and Culture in the Deaf Community
  • Signed Language Interpreting Research
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Graduate seminars on a variety of specialized topics including evolution of communication; linguistic motivation; cognitive linguistics, dynamic systems, and the brain.