Israeli Sign Language


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Basic information of the sign language
Language name Israeli Sign Language
Region Israel


Language name

Israeli Sign Language

(Altanate names) ISL

(Indigenous names) Sfàt ha-simaním ha-israelít



Population of signers

5,000 users including some hearing persons (Van Cleve 1986). (Ethnologue web Edition)

Language family


Linguistic characteristics


Related sign languages

Related spoken languages

Institutes, associations and universities


Savir, Hava ed. 1992. Sha'ar li-´sefat simanim Yi´sra'elit = Gateway to Israeli Sign Language. Tel Aviv: The Association of the Deaf in Israel.

Namir, Lila, Israel Sella, Mordechai Rimor and Izchak M Schlesinger. 1977. Dictionary of sign language of the deaf in Israel. Jerusalem: Ministry of Social Welfare.


Hosemann, Jana, Svetlana. 2016. Signers’ Perception Of Conditional Intonation: A Comparative Study Of Israeli Sign Language And German Sign Language. Oral presentation at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (TISLR 12).

Stamp, Rose and Wendy Sandler. 2016. Articulating The Emergence Of Language. Oral presentation at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (TISLR 12).

Dachkovsky, Svetlana, Christina Healy and Wendy Sandler. 2013. The Universal and the Particular in Sign Language Prosody. Poster presentation at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR11)

Lanesman, Sara and Irit Meir. 2012. The survival of Algerian Jewish Sign Language alongside Israeli Sign Language in Israel. In : Zeshan, Ulrike and Connie de Vos eds. Sign Languages in Village Communities : Anthropological and Linguistic Insights. De Gruyter Mouton (Boston/Berlin), Ishara Press (Nijemegen, The Netherland). 153-179.

Meir, Irit. 2010. From pidgin to creole in a sign language: The case of Israeli Sign Language. Poster session at the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (TISLR 10).

Meir, Irit, Sandler, Wendy, Padden, Carol, & Aronoff, Mark. 2010. Emerging Sign Languages. In : M. Marschark and P. Spencer Eds. Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education. Volume 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 267-280.

Meir, Irit. 2010. The Emergence of Argument Structure in Two New Sign Languages. In : M. Rappaport Hovav, E. Doron and I. Sichel Eds. Syntax, Lexical Semantics and Event Structure.Oxford University Press, 101-123.

Meir, Irit, Aronoff, Mark, Sandler, Wendy & Padden, Carol. 2010. Sign languages and compounding. In : S.Scalise and I.Vogel Eds. Compounding. John Benjamins, 301-322.

Meir, Irit. 2010. Iconicity and metaphor: Constraints on metaphorical extension of iconic forms. In : Language - Volume 86, Number 4, December 2010, pp. 865-896.

Padden, Carol, Irit Meir, Mark Aronoff, and Wendy Sandler. 2010. The grammar of space in two new sign languages. In : Brentari, Dian ed. Sign Languages. A Cambridge Survey. New York: Cambridge University Press. 570-592.

Meir, Irit. 2009. The Evolution of Verb Classes and Verb Agreement in Sign Languages. A talk presented at the LSA 83rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco.

Aronoff, Mark, Irit Meir, Carol Padden and Wendy Sandler. 2008. The Roots of Linguistic Organization in a New Language. In : Special Issue of Interaction Studies. 9.1 on Holophrasis, Compositionality And Protolanguage. 133-153.

Dachkovsky, Svetlana. 2008. Facial expression as intonation in Israeli Sign Language : The case of neutral and counterfactual conditionals. In : Quer, Josep ed. Signs of the Time : Selected Papers from TISLR 2004. Hamburg : Singnum. 61-82.

Meir, Irit and Wendy Sandler. 2008. A Language in Space: the Story of Israeli Sign Language. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Meir, Irit, Carol Padden, Mark Aronoff and Wendy Sandler. 2007. Re-thinking Sign Language verb classes: The body as subject. On-line proceedings of TISLR 9 conference, Florianopolis, Brazil.

Meir, Irit. 2007. The morphological realization of semantic fields. On-line proceedings of TISLR 9 conference, Florianopolis, Brazil.

Meir, Irit, Padden, Carol, Aronoff, Mark, and Sandler, Wendy. 2007. Body as subject (PDF) In : Journal of Linguistics. 43, 531-563.

Meir, Irit. 2006. Question and negation in Israeli Sign Language. In : Sign Language and Linguistics. 7.2, 97-124.

Aronoff, Mark, Irit Meir and Wendy Sandler. 2005. The paradox of sign language morphology. In : Language. Vol.81. Number2, 301-344. 

Wendy Sandler, Irit Meir, Carol Padden and Mark Aronoff. 2005. The emergence of grammar: Systematic structure in a new language. In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Feb. 15, 2005, vol.102 no.7, 2661-2665.

Aronoff, Mark, Irit Meir, Carol Padden and Wendy Sandler. 2004. Morphological universals and the sign language type. In G. Booj & J. van Marle, eds. Yearbook of morphology 2004. 19-39. Dordrecht/Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Dachkovsky, Svetlana. 2004. Factual and Counterfactual Conditionals in Israeli Sign Language. Presentation at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 8

Meir, Irit and Wendy Sandler. 2004. "safa bamerxav: eshnav le- sfat hasimanim hayisraelit (Language in Space: a Window onto Israeli Sign Language)." Haifa : University of Haifa Press. (in Hebrew).

Meir, Irit. 2004. Questin and Negation in Israeli Sign Language. In : Sign Language and Linguistics. 7(2). 97-124.

Aronoff, Mark, Meir, Irit, Padden, Carol, and Sandler, Wendy 2003. Classifier Complexes and Morphology in Two Sign Languages. In : Karen Emmorey Ed. Perspectives on Classifiers in Signed Languages. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. 53-84.

Meir, Irit. 2003. Modality and Grammaticalization: The emergence of a case marked pronoun in ISL. In : Journal of Linguistics. 39.1, 109-140.

Meir, Irit. 2002. A cross-modality perspective on verb agreement. In : Natural Language and Linguistic Theory vol. 20.2, 413-450.

Meir, Irit. 2001. Motion and Transfer: The analysis of two verb classes in Israeli Sign Language. In: Dively, V. ed., Signed Languages: Discoveries from international research. Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. 74-87.

Meir, Irit. 2001. Verb classifiers as noun incorporation in Israeli Sign Language. In : Yearbook of Morphology. 1999, 295-315.

Rosenstein, Ofra. 2001. ISL as a topic prominent language. Master’s thesis, University of Haifa.

2000. Israeli Sign Language. In : Turkington, Carol, and Allen E. Sussman eds. The encyclopedia of deafness and hearing disorders, second edition. New York : Facts on File. 115.

Meir, Irit. 1999. A perfect marker in Israeli Sign Language In : Sign Language and Linguistics. Vol. 2. 1, 41-60.

Nespor, Marina. and Sandler, Wendy. 1999. Prosody in Israeli Sign Language. In : Language and Speech. 42(2/3). 143-476.

Meir, Irit. 1998. The analysis of two verb classes in Israeli Sign Language. Presentation at Sixth International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research

Meir, Irit 1998: Verb agreement in ISL.: Univ. of Jerusalem and The Univ. of Haifa. Dissertation.

Meir, Irit. 1998. Syntactic-Semantic Interaction in Israeli Sign Language verbs: The Case of Backwards Verbs. In: Sign Language and Linguistics. vol.1. 3-33.

Meir, Irit. 1998. Thematic structure and verb agreement in Israeli Sign Language, Ph. D. dissertation, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Meir, Irit. 1995. Explaining backwards verbs in Israeli Sign Language : Syntax-semantic interaction. In : Bos, Heleen and Schermer Gertrude eds. Sign Language Research. Proceedings of the Fourth European Congress on Sign Language Research, Munich, September 1-3, 1994. (International Studies on Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf; 29) Hamburg : Signum, 105-120.

Weisel, Amatzia. 1995. Are there angels in heaven who know sign language? In: David. Chen ed. Education towards the 21st century. Tel Aviv : Ramot Publications. 503-515.

Schlesinger, I.M. 1987. Sign languages : Israeli. In : Van Cleve, John V. (editor in chief), Gallaudet College eds. Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness. New York : McGraw-Hill. vol.3. 84-85.

Schlesinger, Izchak M. and Lila Namir. 1976. Recent research on Israeli Sign Language. In: Report on the 4th International Conference on Deafness. Tel Aviv, March, 18-23, 1973. Silver Spring, Md.: National Association of the Deaf. 114.


History of sign language research

Related pages


The Sign Language Research Lab of The University of Haifa

Fingeralphabete (Israel)


Sign languages in Middle East
Anatolia Seraglio Sign Language (Harem Sign Language) | Turkish Sign Language
Arabian Peninsula Kuwaiti Sign Language | Saudi Arabian Sign Language
Iranian Plateau Persian Sign Language (Iranian Sign Language) | Tea House Sign Language
Levant Al Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language | Israeli Sign Language | Jordanian Sign Language | Yiddish Sign Language
Areas and others Palestinian Sign Language
Personal tools
In other languages
AACoRE > Projects > AASL