Multilingualism and Handwritten Signature: The Case of Palestinian Arab Higher Education Students Israel

Author Information

Deia Ganayim,
Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Israel

DOI: 10.47298/comela22.8-2
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in the Mediterranean and Europe 2022


I examined the relationship between the vitality of language and identity as reflected in the language that Palestinian Arab students of higher education in Israel sign their handwritten signature. To this, I asked the following questions: Do Palestinian Arabs sign in Arabic, their mother tongue and native first language-L1 but still the language of minority for Palestinian Arabs in Israel? Do Palestinian Arabs sign in Hebrew, their second language-L2 but the language of the dominant majority on Israel and the language of most official documents if not all? Do Palestinian Arabs sign in English, the third language-L3 for those in Israel? Or, do Palestinian Arabs sign in a symbolic-logographic manner?

I asked 843 Palestinian multilingual Arab students of higher education in northern, central, and southern Israel to sign their own handwritten signature. Their signatures were classified based on the signature language, into Arabic, Hebrew, English and Symbolic-Logographic (difficult to be classified into a specific language). Approximately 81% of the signatures were not in Arabic, the native firs language. The findings were unpredictable and may trigger further investigation of the interplay of multilingualism and majority / minority language interplay.

Keywords: Handwritten signature, identity, minority language, Palestinian Arabs in Israel, linguistic anthropology


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