Project (2013-2016)

History of Linguistics, Philosophy of Language, and Forms of Life

Myriam Klapi explored how reflections on the deaf affected thinking on man’s relationship to language and the hypothesis of a natural language. From the seventeenth century onwards, an assortment of treatises described connections between language, speech, and voice. In her dissertation, she investigated these treatises’ presentation of sign languages as a key to thinking about the origin of language, the relationship between language and thought, and the nature of man. In preparation of a PhD onHistory of Linguistics, Sign Language in Ottoman Greece: A Study in Language Contact between the Seventeenth and the Nineteenth Century,” Myriam Klapi’s project was to identify the relationship between Turkish Sign Language and Greek Sign Language as it derives from linguistic similarities, and to examine the sociolinguistic impact of that relationship during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The study of linguistic similarities, ideologies, and attitudes in these two centuries not only enhance our knowledge about the evolution of sign language, but also reveal the historical and sociological factors that influenced attitudes towards the deaf community in Greece.