@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

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Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
On the Job: Palestinian Drama
The Intellectual Eatery
AIDS In Kabul
The Kite Runner
40 Years A-Growing
Making Waves
King of the Reefs
Police Pursuit
Iceberg Hotspots
Silent Desert
Hopping Robot

Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Silent Desert


The headlines ranged from the sober “A New Language Arises, and Scientists Watch It Evolve” in The New York Times to the more cheeky “New Sign Language Has Tongues Wagging” in the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2005, Carol Padden, Ph.D. ’83, a communication professor at UC San Diego, made national and international news as one of four researchers studying a sign language created in an isolated Bedouin village in Israel’s Negev Desert. And the research team is once again in the news as the center of the book Talking Hands (Simon & Schuster, 2007), by New York Times reporter Margalit Fox.

Fox accompanied the team to the village called Al-Sayyid on one of their regular forays and interleaves extended and vivid vignettes with a narrative on what sign languages reveal about the mind. What’s particularly special about Al-Sayyid Bedouin sign language, compared to other new sign languages, is that it arose spontaneously, without any apparent external influences, and did so in a socially stable, existing community. As such, it might give insights into age-old conundrums on how languages, of any sort, are born and how they grow.

For May 2005 article in @UCSD magazine, click here.

Contributors to Making Waves: Mario Aguilera, '89, Rex Graham, Raymond Hardie, Robert Monroe, Neda Oreizy, '08, Doug Ramsey



Carol Padden

In her own words...