The Philadelphia Signs Project is led by a small group of researchers in linguistics and education at the University of Pennsylvania and Gallaudet University. Interviews are being conducted by members of the Philly Deaf community and annotated by research assistants at Gallaudet and Penn.

We are committed to doing research with and for the Deaf community.


Jami FisherJami Fisher is the American Sign Language Program Coordinator and Lecturer in Foreign Languages in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, a position she has held since 2005. She is a native ASL user and CODA, born and raised in Philadelphia. She has a BA in English and Education from Colby College, an M.S.Ed. in Education, Culture, and Society and an Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her current academic interests include finding ways to integrate meaningful, collaborative, community-based activities into ASL and Deaf Studies coursework as well as documenting and analyzing the Philadelphia variants of American Sign Language.
Meredith TammingaMeredith Tamminga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Language Variation and Cognition Lab. She has a BA in Linguistics from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research interests focus on psycholinguistic aspects of sociolinguistics: how do we recognize, remember, and produce different dialects and speech styles? This is her first project on signed language linguistics and she is excited about branching out into the visual-manual modality.
 Julie HochgesangJulie Hochgesang is an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at Gallaudet University. She has a BA in English from California State University, Northridge and an MA and Ph.D. in Linguistics from Gallaudet.  She is interested in phonology and phonetics, language documentation (fieldwork, transcription and corpus linguistics) and making linguistics accessible to the general community (ASL teachers, interpreters, teachers of the Deaf, or anyone who’s interested in knowing about language). Currently, Julie is working on a language documentation project with the Deaf Haitian community (LSHDoP) which is an initial effort at collecting and compiling video data on their signed language. She is also involved in initial efforts towards creating documentation archives for ASL at Gallaudet.