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Volume Ten: Issue One

Fall 2009

New Editor for Sign Language Studies
ARTICLES
Signs in Which Handshape and Hand Orientation Are Either Not or Are Only Partially Visible: What Is the Consequence for Lexical Recognition?
G.A. ten Holt, A.J. van Doorn, H. de Ridder, M.J.T. Reinders, E.A. Hendriks

Abstract

Deaf on the Lifeline of Mumbai
Annelies Kusters

Abstract

TWO PERSPECTIVES ON THE GALLAUDET PROTESTS OF 2006
The 2006 Protest at Gallaudet University: Reflections and Explanations
John B. Christiansen

Abstract

Postscript: Gallaudet Protests of 2006 and the Myths of In/Exclusion
H-Dirksen L. Bauman
BOOK REVIEWS
Cognitive – Behavioral Therapy for Deaf and Hearing Persons with Language and Learning Challenges by Neil S. Glickman
Martha A. Sheridan

Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking, ed. H.-Dirksen L. Bauman

Christopher Krentz
ABSTRACTS
Signs in Which Handshape and Hand Orientation Are Either Not or Are Only Partially Visible: What Is the Consequence for Lexical Recognition?

We present the results of an experiment on lexical recognition of human sign language signs in which the available perceptual information about handshape and hand orientation was manipulated. Stimuli were videos of signs from Sign Language of the Netherlands (SLN). The videos were processed to create four conditions: (1) one in which neither handshape nor hand orientation could be observed, (2) one in which hand orientation could be extracted but not handshape, (3) one in which an approximation of the handshape could be seen, and (4) one where the video was unmodified. In general, recognition of the signs was almost impossible in the first two conditions, while condition 3 showed a rise in recognition rate to about 60 percent However, some signs were recognized well even in conditions 1 and 2. Their success rate cannot be linked to a single sign property but seems to be due to a combination of factors. In general, handshape information appears more salient for resolving the lexical meaning of a sign than hand orientation.

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Deaf on the Lifeline of Mumbai

This article is a result of my MSc Deaf Studies dissertation that is situated on an intersection between Deaf geography, anthropology and Deafhood theory. During five weeks of participatory observation and interviews in Mumbai, my attention was drawn to the city’s lifeline: the suburban train system.

It appeared that Deaf people tend to travel in specific compartments for people with disabilities that were set up about eight years ago. They started to use these compartments—and also the train platforms—as important meeting places. The article explains how this evolved and the reasons for traveling in compartments for disabled people rather than in general train compartments—reasons that have nothing to do with a “deficit” perspective on deafness.

Not only has this way of traveling several sociocultural consequences that appear to strengthen links in the Mumbai Deaf community; in addition the visibility of signing Deaf groups has caused a growth in Deaf awareness among hearing people in these “disabled” compartments in particular and at the train stations in general. It is because of Mumbai’s geography, its resulting population density and the heavy use of suburban trains unique for this city, that these several different effects were so strongly spread in both the Deaf community and among hearing people.

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The 2006 Protest at Gallaudet University: Reflections and Explanations

Events leading to the selection of Jane Fernandes as Gallaudet University’s ninth president in May 2006 are described, as are protest-related activities that occurred subsequent to her selection. An explanation of these activities is offered, and some comparisons with the Deaf President Now protest of 1988 are made.

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