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Volume Seventeen: Issue Two

Current Issue - Winter 2017

ARTICLES
A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of Fingerspelling Production by Sign Language Interpreters
Brenda Nicodemus, Laurie Swabey, Lorraine Leeson, Jemina Napier, Giulia Petitta and Marty M. Taylor

Abstract

New Evidence for Early Modern Ottoman Arabic and Turkish Sign Systems
Kristina Richardson

Abstract

The Historical Relationship between Triestine and Austrian Sign Language
Franz Dotter and Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli

Abstract

Sign Language Varieties in Lima, Peru
Brenda Clark

Abstract

Sequential Recall and American Sign Language: A Look at LOT
Harley Hamilton

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS
The Sage Deaf Studies Encyclopedia, ed. Genie Gertz and Patrick Boudreault
Glenn B. Anderson

Form, Meaning, and Focus in American Sign Language by Miako N.P. Rankin
Adam C. Schembri

Guidelines for Contributors

ABSTRACTS
A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of Fingerspelling Production by Sign Language Interpreters

Little is known about the nature of fingerspelling during sign language interpretation. In this small-scale, exploratory study, we examined the fingerspelling of interpreters working in five different sign languages: American Sign Language (ASL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), British Sign Language (BSL), Irish Sign Language (ISL), and Italian Sign Language (LIS). Sixteen interpreters were videorecorded as they rendered President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address in their country’s sign language. After completing their interpretations, the participants engaged in a retrospective interview about their work. The data were analyzed both quantitatively (for frequency and type of fingerspelling) and qualitatively (for factors influencing fingerspelling). Results indicate that the most fingerspelled items (n = 137) were produced in the ASL interpretations and the fewest (n = 18) were produced in the LIS interpretations; variation between the groups was found in lexicalized fingerspelling and the fingerspelling of place names. We suggest that the variation in fingerspelling both within and between groups may be explained by sociolinguistic factors, including interpreters’ language attitudes and perceptions of the deaf audience. This exploratory study provides a first step in investigating the fingerspelling of interpreters in a variety of sign languages.

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New Evidence for Early Modern Ottoman Arabic and Turkish Sign Systems

The earliest descriptions of Latin finger alphabets were recorded in southern Europe between 1579 and 1589. New literary and visual evidence for sixteenth-century Ottoman Arabic and Ottoman Turkish sign systems are presented and analyzed in this article.

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The Historical Relationship between Triestine and Austrian Sign Language

The high degree of comprehensibility between the signed languages in Trieste (present-day Italy) and Austria is very probably due to their joint history of deaf schools within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Investigation undertaken in archives in Trieste and Klagenfurt has revealed interesting similarities in the education of deaf children there since the mid-nineteenth century, which may explain present-day affinities. General background information is provided regarding sign language in Italy and Austria, and a detailed description of schools and teaching methodologies, which are the probable source of a historical connection, is then presented.

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Sign Language Varieties in Lima, Peru

This article examines the diversity of sign language varieties used in Lima, Peru. The majority of the analysis is based on lexicostatistics, using data collected in 2014 to compare nine signers and to determine foreign influences. This technique is used to better understand the linguistic situation without the need for a large corpus of data. Two distinct sign languages are identified: Peruvian Sign Language among younger signers and a previously undocumented language that this article calls Inmaculada Sign Language among the oldest generation. A third variety, which acts as link between these two languages, exhibits some features of a creole. All three varieties are native in origin and show some influence from American Sign Language (ASL), with the most ASL influence in Peruvian Sign Language. The history of deaf education in Lima helps explain how the two languages developed, and individual variation is described as the product of social factors. The findings are in line with what has been found in other surveys of supposedly uniform national sign languages.

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Sequential Recall and American Sign Language: A Look at LOT

This article investigates the sequential recall of manual alphabet letters by signing deaf adolescents under two presentation conditions: fingerspelling and the listing and ordering technique (LOT) of American Sign Language. Fingerspelling presents each letter in a manner similar to the spelling of spoken words: A letter is produced and then is no longer available as the next letter in the sequence is produced. In addition, LOT allows for a letter to be presented on one hand and referenced to a finger on the other, nonmoving hand, providing a visuospatial anchor for the item. Recall of LOT-presented items proved superior to that of fingerspelled presentations.

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