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A New Emerging Sign Language by Laurie Jacobvitz.

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1 A New Emerging Sign Language by Laurie Jacobvitz

2 In a Remote Village where everyone signs….. Linguists are discovering the essential Ingredients of all human language and uncovering the workings of the human mind.

3 The researchers of Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) all linguists Carol Padden (D) UC San Diego. Only Deaf person on the team. Expert in ASL and Deaf culture Mark Aronoff (H) Stony Brook University New York. Internationally renowned. Specialist in morphology and Semitic languages Dr. Wendy Sandler (H) Lead researcher and Director of Sign Language Research Laboratory in Haifa, Israel Proficient in ASL and ISL. Irit Meir (H) Israeli linguist. Speaks some Arabic. Former student of Wendy Sandler. They wrote a book together on Israeli Sign Language. All have a fierce protectiveness for the ABSL community. Their location and identities are kept confidential. Clips of ABSL are not circulated.


5 Al Sayyid Bedouin live in the Negev Desert Region Bedouin Population 110,000 in the Negev 10,000 in the central region 50,000 in the north

6 The excitement of the research Young languageonly 70 years old Third generation In a population of 3500 people are DeafThat is forty times the incidence of the general population. Most hearing villagers also sign. Deaf people integrated into society. ABSL has arisen on its own outside the influence of other languagesno linguistic model. It offers a living demonstration of language instinct

7 The Study of ABSL Focus on the second generation20 Deaf people between the ages of 30 and 40 who use ABSL They have no formal education and do not speak Hebrew, Arabic or Israeli Sign Language No language contact with people outside of the village hearing or Deaf The researchers have permission to photograph them. Ask them to sign objects, describe events, and tell stories.


9 Comparing ASL, ABSL and ISL

10 Token variation in different generations

11 Token similarity in one family

12 GRAMMAR No verb agreement /Limited use of spatial morphology Man gives tennis ball to a woman Word order subject--object--verb (SOV)-strong syntax James Jan kiss Different than Israels spoken languages which use subject-verb-object (SVO) ABSL in between home signs and a fully mature language

13 Three ingredients for organic sign language Hereditary deafnessrecessive gene Isolation Intermarriage

14 Is ABSL an endangered language? Genetic counselingdiscouraging intermarriage Encouraging marriage outside the community Children learning Israeli Sign Language at school and parents wanting their children to know the national sign language.

15 References Ben-David, Dr. Yosef. The Bedouin in Israel. Jewish Virtual Library Fox, Margalit. Talking Hands. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007 Fox, Margalit. Lingua Ex Machina: Deaf Bedouin Children Created a Complete Language Discover Magazine. 03 July deaf/article_village Goldin-Meadow, Susan. Watching Language Grow. National Academy of Sciences 2005 February 9 Hopkin, Michael. Sign Language Reveals Fast Track to Grammar. Deccan Herald 07 Feb Saar, Tsafi. Born to Sign. Sandler, Wendy. Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language. Sandler, Wendy and Aronoff, Mark. Is Phonology Necessary for Language? Emergence of Language Structures Workshop Center for Research in Language and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind UCSD 06 Feb Sandler, Wendy, Meir, Irit, Padden, Carol and Aronoff, Mark. (2005) The Emergence of Grammar in a New Sign Language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol 102, No Wade, Nicolas. A New Language Arises, and Scientists Watch it Evolve. Science February 1, 2005

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