Israel is a microcosm of the sign language world. Within a country about equal in area to New Jersey, Israel contains both a widely dispersed deaf community sign language used in schools, Israeli Sign Language, and a number of much smaller village sign languages, each confined to a single community and used only within its confines. Our research team was formed to study Israeli Sign Language, but we have also spent the last decade studying and documenting the sign language of the Bedouin village of Al-Sayyid, located near Be’er Sheva, the ancestral home of Abraham. I will compare the history and structure of these two languages and show how the study of their emergence has provided a variety of insights into language and human nature.
WTY Library Auditorium
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Mark Aronoff (Stony Brook University)