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Volume Eight: Issue Two

Winter 2008

COMMENTARY
Breaking the Molds: Signed Languages and the Nature of Human Language

Dan I. Slobin

Abstract

ARTICLES
The Role of Iconicity in International Sign

Rachel Rosenstock

Abstract

Reorganizing Teacher Preparation in Deaf Education

Tom Humphries and Bobbie M. Allen

Abstract

“Bad Things”: Child Abuse and the Nineteenth-Century Spanish National School for the Deaf and Blind

Susan Plann

Abstract

BOOK REVIEW
Karen Nakamura, Deaf in Japan: Signing and the Politics of Identity
Soya Mori
ABSTRACTS
Breaking the Molds: Signed Languages and the Nature of Human Language

Grammars of signed languages tend to be based on grammars established for written languages, particularly the written language in use in the surrounding hearing community of a sign language. Such grammars presuppose categories of discrete elements which are combined into various sorts of structures. Recent analyses of signed languages go beyond this tradition, attending to gradient elements of signs and to the communicative and physical settings in which signs are produced. Important new insights are gained when sign language linguists consider such factors, making use of new tools of cognitive linguistics. A typological approach to signed languages suggests that they are of the opposite type to the surrounding spoken/written languages of Europe, North America, and East Asia. Those languages are dependent-marked, whereas signed languages are head-marked.

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The Role of Iconicity in International Sign

This article investigates the role of iconicity in International Sign Language (ISL), as used by interpreters for Deaf people at international conferences. In analyses of ISL, specific issues of iconicity (e.g., degree of abstractness, levels of application, competing motivations, and universality) are considered and applied to ISL data. The data used in this article were recorded at Deaf Way II, an international conference held in Washington, D.C., and exemplify iconic structures on the lexical, syntactic, and discourse-pragmatic levels.

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Reorganizing Teacher Preparation in Deaf Education

This article describes efforts at the University of California, San Diego in the Education Studies Program to develop and field-test a teacher preparation program that combines best practices in bilingual education and deaf education. The training curriculum designed for this program relies on research that finds a correlation between ASL fluency and English literacy. Also discussed is a collaborative project between training faculty and K–12 partners to transition between more traditional deaf education practices and new teaching and assessment practices focused on ASL literacy development as well as development in other languages.

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“Bad Things”: Child Abuse and the Nineteenth-Century Spanish National School for the Deaf and Blind

This article draws on contemporary insights from the fields of psychology, sociology, and social welfare to analyze the potential threats of abuse posed by residential schools for deaf and blind children. It also examines an alleged episode of sexual abuse at the nineteenth century Spanish National School for deaf and blind children; the alleged perpetrator of these acts was director and professor Miguel Fernández Villabrille.

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