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Kate Mesh

Kate for web square

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My research focus is on the use of gestures by hearing and deaf people who inhabit the same community. I investigate how signers adapt conventional gestural practices of the community as they integrate them into emerging sign languages. The comparison of gesturers and signers helps us to understand how the body is recruited to express linguistic information, whether alongside speech or in fully visual-manual systems. Since 2012, I’ve worked with UT Austin’s Chatino Language Documentation Project (CLDP) to investigate how hearing and deaf people in one indigenous Chatino community of Mexico use a shared gestural system, and how signers modify the system as their linguistic conventions emerge. As a member of the GRAMBY team, I am studying the relationship of Israeli Sign Language (ISL) to broader gestural practices in Israel. My work focuses on the manual gestures and gaze patterns of Hebrew and Arabic speakers, and links these behaviors to conventionalized constructions found in ISL.



I am deaf with deaf parents, and therefore Israeli Sign Language is my mother tongue.

In my work as a research assistant I learn new and interesting things about my mother tongue that I never knew before. At the moment, I am studying interactive communication design and social sciences at the Technion, Haifa. In the Bilingual-Bimodal project, I am responsible for developing the linguistic coding, recruiting families and administering the assessments in Israeli Sign Language.