Debby Menashe

I started working as a research assistant in the lab in 1998. My work is on Israeli Sign Language (ISL) since it is my native language (I was born to a deaf family). My work includes translation, documentation and coding of different linguistic materials of ISL. While working here, I discovered that sign language arouses deep interest in me, and that there is a fascinating deaf community behind it, with a unique mental and cultural character. 

Through my work, I have come to value my native language, and my ties with it have become stronger.

I have participated in a research project on the history of ISL, in which I discovered various forms of signs used by different generations of signers. Last year I also became involved in a new project on new sign languages that evolved on their own in village communities in Israel. I learned that several different rich sign cultures are hidden in the tiny state of Israel. It really makes me happy to study other sign languages.