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Volume Seven: Issue One

Fall 2006

COMMENTARY
Melodies Unheard: Deaf Poets and Their Subversion of the “Sound” Theory of Poetry
John Lee Clark
ARTICLES
Creating and Contesting Signs in Contemporary Japan: Language Ideologies, Identity, and Community in Flux
Karen Nakamura

Abstract

Emergence and Development of Signed Languages: From a Semiogenetic Point of View
Ivani Fusellier-Souza

Abstract

yes, #no, Visibility and Variation in ASL and Tactile ASL
Karen Petronio and Valerie Dively

Abstract

BOOK REVIEW

Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, Inside Deaf Culture. Harvard University Press. 2005.

David F. Armstrong
ABSTRACTS
Creating and Contesting Signs in Contemporary Japan: Language Ideologies, Identity, and Community in Flux

Japanese Sign Language (JSL) is currently in a state of transition as various elements within and outside the Deaf community contest the creation of new terms. Represented by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, the older generation is creating new words in order to compete with the national public television service while at the same time fending off criticism from younger, culturally Deaf members. This article examines the language ideologies present in this complex situation.

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Emergence and Development of Signed Languages: From a Semiogenetic Point of View

This article first introduces some theoretical considerations concerning the emergence and evolution of sign languages from the semiogenetic perspective. It then presents results from a linguistic study of the phenomenon of lexical stabilization in three emerging sign languages used by Brazilian deaf adults who live in a hearing environment without contact with a deaf community.

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yes, #no, Visibility and Variation in ASL and Tactile ASL

In American Sign Language (ASL), a receiver watches the signer and receives language visually. In contrast, when using tactile ASL, a variety of ASL, the deaf-blind receiver receives language by placing a hand on top of the signer’s hand. In the study described in this article we compared the functions and frequency of the signs yes and #no in tactile ASL and visual ASL. We found that yes and/or #no were used for twelve functions in both. There was, however, some variation. In one environment yes occurred in tactile ASL but not in visual ASL. With regard to frequency, the two signs occurred far more often in tactile ASL. Unexpectedly, significant variation was also found within visual ASL, depending on the number of interviewees in a session. yes and #no were used more frequently with two or more interviewees and less often when only one interviewee was present. These findings led us to the concept of a “visibility continuum” to account for the variation between visual and tactile ASL, as well as for the variation within visual ASL. The data also reveal variation in tactile ASL that correlates with role and gender, as well as the age at which a participant started using tactile ASL (i.e., similar to age-of-acquisition effects).

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