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Volume Six: Issue Three

Spring 2006

COMMENTARY
The Argument for a Constitutional Right to Communication and Language
Lawrence Siegel
ARTICLES
To Capture a Face: A Novel Technique for the Analysis and Quantification of Facial Expressions in American Sign Language
Ruth B. Grossman and Judy Kegl

Abstract

How Many People Use ASL in the United States? Why Estimates Need Updating
Ross E. Mitchell, Travas A. Young, Bellamie Bachleda, and Michael A. Karchmer

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS
Innate or Resilient? How Children’s Gesture Creation Uncovers the Ontological Origins of Language
          Susan Goldin-Meadow, The Resilience of Language: What Gesture Creation in Deaf
          Children Can Tell Us about How All Children Learn Language
Elena Nicoladis

Two Views of Rachel Sutton-Spence’s Analysing Sign Language Poetry

          Disregarding Poetic Transidentity

Jim Cohn

          How Many People Use ASL in the United States? Why Estimates Need Updating

Nicholas Chare
ABSTRACTS
To Capture a Face: A Novel Technique for the Analysis and Quantification of Facial Expressions in American Sign Language

American Sign Language uses the face to express vital components of grammar in addition to the more universal expressions of emotion. The study of ASL facial expressions has focused mostly on the perception and categorization of various expression types by signing and nonsigning subjects. Only a few studies of the production of ASL facial expression exist, and those rely mainly on descriptions and comparisons of individual sentences. The purpose of this article is to present a novel and multilevel approach for the coding and quantification of ASL facial expressions. The technique combines ASL coding software with novel postcoding analyses that allow for graphic depictions and group comparisons of the different facial expression types. This system enables us to clearly delineate differences in the production of otherwise similar facial expression types.

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How Many People Use ASL in the United States? Why Estimates Need Updating

This article traces the sources of the estimates of the number of American Sign Language users in the United States. A variety of claims can be found in the literature and on the Internet, some of which have been shown to be unfounded but continue to be cited. In our search for the sources of the various (mis)understandings, we have found that all of the data-based estimates of the number of people who use ASL in the United States have their origin in a single study published in the early 1970s, which inquired about signing in general and not ASL use in particular. There has been neither subsequent research to update these estimates nor any specific study of ASL use. The article concludes with a call to action to rectify this problem.

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