Signed Language & Cognition; Talk by Margalit Fox, 11/28

Margalit Fox, author of Talking Hand, to speak November 28

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences Linguistics Department & the Cognitive Science Minor are pleased to announce an evening with Margalit Fox, New York Times writer and author of Talking Hands.

The narrative of Talking Hands takes readers to a place like nowhere else on earth: the village of Al-Sayyid, a remote Bedouin community in Israel where everyone "speaks” sign language. There, as the result of an unusually high incidence of hereditary deafness, an indigenous sign language has sprung up entirely on its own, used by deaf and hearing villagers alike. At every hour of the day, in nearly every house in the village, in the fields and in the mosque, there are people talking in sign. A veritable island of the deaf, Al-Sayyid is a place that few outsiders have ever seen, and that no journalist has ever before reported on.

Until now, no one has attempted to decode the mysterious sign language of the village. Talking Hands follows an international team of scientists, two from America and two from Israel, as they set out to decipher this remarkable language. Because the sign language of Al-Sayyid has arisen completely on its own, outside the influence of any other language, it offers a living demonstration of the “language instinct,” man’s inborn capacity to create language from thin air.

Talking Hands will be for sale at the event and Ms. Fox will be available for a box signing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
7:30 p.m, Brantl Lecture Room, Dickson Hall
Refreshments following the Lecture
This event is free and open to the public. An ASL interpreter will be present for the entire event.