Connie de Vos

Connie de Vos is the principal investigator of the ELISA project. She was trained as a sign language linguist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, under the supervision of Prof. Stephen C. Levinson, Prof. Nick Enfield and Prof. Ulrike Zeshan. Her work has been supported by numerous prestigious funding agencies including ELDP, NWO and now ERC. Connie de Vos has longstanding ties with the deaf community in Bengkala going back to 2007. She set up a deaf unit in collaboration with local authorities, which has since come to service deaf children in the wider area of Buleleng. She is a hearing researcher with professional fluency in multiple sign languages, including Kata Kolok, and has worked with deaf community members as language informants and research assistants. Their contribution has been vital in documenting Bali’s emergent signing varieties as used by both adult and child signers. 

Photo of Connie de Vos presenting in International Sign at the TISLR14 conference in Osaka.

Photo of Connie de Vos

Josefina Safar 

Josefina Safar works as a postdoc in the ELISA project and focuses on the sub-project The social lives of homesigners. Josefina is a sign language linguist who is interested in sign language emergence, evolution and variation as well as the interface between gesture and sign. During her PhD at Stockholm University, she documented sign languages in Yucatec Maya communities with a high incidence of deafness in Yucatán, Mexico. In the course of her PhD fieldwork, Josefina collaborated closely with deaf and hearing research assistants from the Yucatec Maya communities. She also worked as a visiting researcher at Victoria University of Wellington in a project about sociolinguistic variation in New Zealand Sign Language. Josefina is a hearing signer and apart from Yucatec Maya Sign Language, she can communicate in Swedish Sign Language, Austrian Sign Language and International Sign.

Photo of Josefina Safar

Hannah Lutzenberger

Hannah Lutzenberger is a post-doc in the ELISA project. She focuses on the link between social networks and lexical variation in Kata Kolok signers and Balinese homesigners as well as grammaticalisation processes in Kata Kolok within the emergence of language in six generations sub-project. She obtained her PhD from Radboud University, under the supervision of Prof. Paula Fikkert, Prof. Onno Crasborn and Dr. Connie de Vos, where she focused on linguistic variation and language acquisition in Kata Kolok phonology. Hannah has longstanding ties with the deaf community in Bengkala since accompanying Connie de Vos to the field in 2014, and has worked together with deaf and hearing local research assistants for various research projects. Her major research interests are language acquisition, language documentation, linguistic diversity & variation, and social interaction. Hannah is a hearing researcher with fluency in several different sign languages, including Kata Kolok, NGT, DGS, and IS. 

Hannah Lutzenberger (bw)


Satyawati is a PhD student in the ELISA Project. She is working on the emergence of language in six generations sub-project. As a former research assistant, she has gained fieldwork experience and maintains a good relationship with the local community in Bali. She is a hearing researcher and can communicate in the Denpasar Sign Sanguage as well as Kata Kolok, with a basic understanding of International Sign.


Photo of Satyawati

Lauren Reed

Lauren W Reed is a Fieldwork Assistant in the ELISA project, where she supports the deaf research assistants in data collection and local data management. Lauren is a hearing user of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) since childhood and a Sibling of Deaf Adults. She has a Master’s in General and Applied Linguistics from the Australian National University and has worked with deaf and hearing signers in rural and urban contexts in Papua New Guinea, and with hearing users of alternate sign languages in Australia’s Western Desert. She is the Assistant Director of the Centre for Australian Languages at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra, Australia, where she works supporting the strengthening of Indigenous Australian languages.

Danielle Naegeli

Danielle Naegeli is a PhD student in the ELISA project. In her sub-project, she experimentally tests the role of social mechanism in sign language emergence using the silent gesture paradigm with hearing participants. Danielle’s interests lie in the mechanisms of cultural evolution of language. She completed her master’s degree in Evolution of Language and Cognition at the Centre for Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh. Subsequently, she gathered experience with silent gesture experiments working as a research assistant on an ESRC project on word order conventionalisation in Edinburgh. Danielle is a hearing researcher with a basic understanding of British Sign Language.

Photo of Danielle Naegeli

Ketut Kanta

Since 1993 and onwards, Ketut Kanta, or usually called Om Kanta, has assisted in many research projects in Bengkala, Bali. Together with I Gede Marsaja, he participated in the Sign Language Project led by Ulrike Zeshan at the Max Planck Institute in 2006. He also helped Connie de Vos collecting data for her dissertation between 2008 and 2010. Additionally, he also assisted her and Hannah Lutzenberger with the collection of the child signing data from 2016 onward. Currently, he is part of the ELISA’s team and plays an important role as a local guide and interpreter. His goal is to continue to help Bengkala to develop. Click here to watch the profile video of Ketut Kanta.

Photo of Ketut Kanta

Ni Made Dadi Astini

Dadi is the deaf local assistant research in ELISA team. Right now, she is teaching deaf students at the inclusive deaf school in Bengkala. She was first introduced to practical and technical field research in 2010 with Connie de Vos. She also teamed up with Sumarni to help Hannah Lutzenberger to collect the data for her dissertation. Click here to watch the profile video of Ni Made Dadi Astini.

Photo of Ni Made Dadi Astini

Ni Putu Wulan Lestari


Ni Putu Wulan Lestari is a native Balinese speaker. She is fresh graduate with a bachelor’s in Japanese Literature from Udayana University. She is interested in Corpus linguistics, intercultural communications, and language teaching. She works as a fieldwork assistant for the ELISA project. She recruits participants, runs experiments, manages local data, and consults on language under the supervision of Danielle Naegeli in Bali.


Ni Putu Luhur Wedayanti

Ni Putu Luhur Wedayanti is a full-time lecturer in the Japanese department, Udayana University. She is mainly interested in language and cultural studies of Balinese or Japanese language and growing a deep interest in sign language. Currently, she is working on sign language research in Desa Bengkala, and became a part of the ELISA project team in 2021 as an assistant for data collection of Balinese gesture with Danielle Naegeli.


Gentha Rajasha Jiwanegara

Gentha Rajasha Jiwanegara was born and raised in Bali and is currently a student at Udayana University in the Japanese Literature department. His interests include sociolinguistics and non-verbal communication across different cultures. In his leisure time, he is happiest creating or appreciating any form of art. He is a fieldwork assistant in the ELISA project under Danielle Naegeli. His responsibilities are recruiting participants, running experiments, managing local data, and consulting on language and culture.


Ni Made Sumarni

Ni Made Sumarni began to learn how to record videos to help Hannah Lutzenberger for her dissertation in 2017. Now, at the age of 21 years old, Sumarni is part of the ELISA team as deaf local assistant research. Click here to watch the profile video of Ni Made Sumarni.

Photo of Ni Made Sumarni

Door Spruijt

Door Spruijt is a an alumna of the ELISA project, now PhD student at the University of Cologne with Prof. Pamela Perniss. Her linguistics studies have taken place at the University of Amsterdam, where she completed both a bachelor and master in Sign Linguistics. Prior to that, she trained to be a teacher of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Door is a hearing signer who is fluent in NGT and can communicate in International Sign. She was involved in the construction of the Balinese Homesign Bank as well as the Balinese Homesign Corpus.

Door Spruijt

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