Rehana Omardeen


I joined the SignTeam in Göttingen in November, 2018 to pursue my PhD. Here, as part of the RTG 2070 “Understanding Social Relationships”, I examine the use of gesture in spoken and signed languages. My current research interests include language emergence,sign language typology, iconicity and the gesture-sign interface. Most recently, I have spent three months on fieldwork in Providence Island on an ELDP funded project to document the signing used among the deaf population there.

I was first introduced to sign language under the guidance of Donna Jo Napoli, during my BA at Swarthmore College, where I immediately became fascinated with examining language in the visual modality. I later worked with Dr. Ben Brathwaite (University of the West Indies, St Augustine) documenting a rural sign language of Guyana and researching Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language, and became interested in the typological variation present in the world’s sign languages. In 2018, I completed my research MA in Linguistics at Radboud University in Nijmegen. There, under the supervision of Onno Crasborn and Calle Börstell, my thesis project examined Dutch signer’s perception of iconicity in Chinese signs.