What an emerging language can tell us about language evolution / Kaj nam nastajajoči jezik lahko pove o razvoju jezika

author: Mark Aronoff, Department of Linguistics, Stony Brook University
published: Jan. 15, 2009,   recorded: February 2008,   views: 5321

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Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) is the sign language of a small, insular, endogamous community in the Negev desert with a high incidence of genetically recessive profound neurosensory deafness. The first deaf individuals were born about 75 years ago and the number of deaf members of the community now numbers over 100 (in a population of about 3500). ABSL appears to have developed with little or no influence from either neighboring sign languages or the surrounding spoken languages; it is widely used in the community, with at least as many hearing as deaf users; and neither the language nor the deaf signers are stigmatized in the community. For several years, a team of linguists from Israel and the United States has been analyzing the structure of ABSL. Prof. Aronoff will review their work to date, discuss the linguistic structure of ABSL and the implications of their findings for current theories of the nature and evolution of human language.

Znakovni jezik Al-Sayyid beduinov je nastal v okviru majhne zaprte skupnosti v puščavi Negev z velikim odstotkom genetsko pogojene gluhosti. Tekom zadnjih 50 let je skupnost razvila samosvoj znakovni jezik skoraj brez vpliva drugih znakovnih jezikov ali sosednjih govorjenih jezikov, zaradi česar je jezik pomemben za razumevanje nastanka in razvoja človeškega jezika ter narave človekšega uma.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Andrej Bekes, November 9, 2009 at 9:33 a.m.:

A very revealing lecture on emergent nature of language.
At the same time, as an unintended undertone, grim realities of field working with the "natives", and the "natives'" precarious position in Israel, is revealed.
Both, the intended and the unintended, aspects of the lecture provide ample food for thought.

Andrej Bekes,
Department of Asian and African Studies, Univresity of Ljubljana Faculty of Arts

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