Affiliation: University of California, San Diego
I am a Professor of Communication and a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Research in Language, Human Development, Education Studies at University of California, San Diego. My areas of research broadly stated are: language, communication and culture. For most of my career I have been involved in the study of sign language, particularly American Sign Language (ASL). In recent years, together with my colleagues Mark Aronoff, Irit Meir and Wendy Sandler, I have taken my interest in language in new directions. My colleagues and I have had the opportunity to study a new sign language developing in social and cultural circumstances quite different from that of North America, where ASL is primarily used. I am currently involved in the study of a new sign language used in a community of hearing and deaf Bedouins in southern Israel. This work has allowed me to explore ways in which language forms are created, propagated, and conventionalized in natural environments. Some of our findings concern the linguistic structure of a new language, what properties emerge quickly after one or two generations of language use, and what properties may take time to evolve.