The historical development of Israeli Sign Language (ISL), from its earliest days to the present, is the focus of this research project, conducted by Irit Meir. Since ISL is a young language, having come into existence as the local Deaf community coalesced, beginning about 80 years ago, it provides a natural laboratory for investigating the formation of a national sign language language change in a culturally and linguistically diverse community. The project systematically investigates the language of four generations of signers, and the ways in which each contributed to the development of the full contemporary system.
Other projects are tracing the diachronic development of prosody across generations of ISL signers, described in the section on Prosody
Meir, Irit (2003). ‘Grammaticalization and Modality: The emergence of a case marked pronoun in ISL’. Journal of Linguistics, 39.1, 109-140.
Meir, Irit (2006). ‘Question and negation in Israeli Sign Language’. Sign Language and Linguistics, 7.2, 97-124.
Meir, Irit, Carol Padden, Mark Aronoff, and Wendy Sandler (2007). ‘The body as subject’. Journal of Linguistics, 43, 531-563.
Meir, Irit (2012). ’The evolution of verb classes and verb agreement in signed languages’. Theoretical Linguistics, 38(1-2), 145 – 152.
Meir, Irit (2010). ’The Emergence of Argument Structure in Two New Sign Languages’. In: M. Rappaport Hovav, E. Doron and I. Sichel (Eds.). Syntax, Lexical Semantics and Event Structure. Oxford University Press, 101-123.
Padden, Carol, Irit Meir, Mark Aronoff, and Wendy Sandler (2010). ’The grammar of space in two new sign languages’. In: D. Brentari (Ed.). Sign Languages: A Cambridge Survey. New York: Cambridge University Press, 573-595.
Meir, Irit, Adi Lifshitz, Deniz Ilkbasaran, and Carol Padden (2010). ‘The interaction of animacy and word order in human languages: a study of strategies in a novel communication task’. Proceedings of EVOLANG, 8, 455-456.
Meir, Irit, Wendy Sandler, Carol Padden, and Mark Aronoff (2013). ‘Competing Iconicities in the Structure of Languages’. Cognitive Linguistics, 24(2), 309-343.
Meir, Irit, Assaf Israel, Wendy Sandler, Carol Padden, and Mark Aronoff (2013). ‘Community structure and language structure’. Linguistic Variation, 12(2), 247-291.