The development of a language in space -- Israeli Sign Language

December 10, 2007

Languages occur because people have the need to communicate, but rarely does the opportunity arise to document the development of a young language. Israeli Sign Language (ISL) began in the 1930s and developed as a melting pot of immigrants arrived in Israel over the decades that followed. Because of its particular history, ISL is a creole language -- the only creole sign language that has been described to date.

A Language in Space: The Story of Israeli Sign Language documents the linguistic development of the language as well as the social aspects of a new community that began when history threw together small numbers of deaf people from all over the world. The book is an appealing and accessible introduction to sign language linguistics using Israeli Sign Language as a model.

Written by Prof. Wendy Sandler and Dr. Irit Meir of the Sign Language Research Laboratory at the University of Haifa, the book assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics or sign language, and offers a detailed description of this young sign language, accompanied by 250 lively illustrations.
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University of Haifa

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