Algerian Jewish Sign Language
Algerian Jewish Sign Language originated in Ghardaia, a mostly Berber town located in the M’zab (sub-Saharan) region of Algeria. The Jewish community there was socially and genetically isolated. Consanguineous marriage resulted in a high percentage of deafness (2.5%), that goes back at least five generations. By the 1960s, the entire Jewish community had left Ghardaia and emigrated to Israel or to France, and deaf people continued to use the sign language among themselves and with their hearing family members.In this research poject we investigate the socio-linguistic conditions that led to the emergence of the language in Ghardaia and to its survival in Israel. Additionally, we document the vocabulary of this language (see AJSL dictionary) and its linguistic structure. Publications:
- Lanesman, Sara, and Irit Meir (2012). ‘The survival of Algerian Jewish Sign Language alongside Israeli Sign Language in Israel’. In U. Zeshan and C. De Vos (Eds.). Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and Linguistic Insights. Sign Language Typology
- Lanesman, Sara, and Irit Meir (2012). ‘Algerian Jewish Sign Language – Sociolinguistic sketch’. In: U. Zeshan, and C. De Vos (Eds.). Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and Linguistic Insights, Sign Language Typology Series 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, and Nijmegen: Ishara Press, 361-364.
- Meir, Irit, and Sara Lanesman (2013). ‘Vocabulary as a reflection of culture: Algerian Jewish Sign Language’. In: M. Bar Asher, and I. Meir (Eds.). Nit’ey Ilan: Studies in Hebrew and its sister languages in honor of Ilan Eldar. Jerusalem: Carmel.