SLS History



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History of SLS

Known by many as the father of the linguistics of American Sign Language, William C. Stokoe began publication of Sign Language Studies in 1972. With the encouragement of Thomas Sebeok, Stokoe created his seminal journal as an outgrowth of his pioneering studies of the structure of American Sign language and the dynamics of Deaf communities. From then until recently, SLS has presented a unique forum for revolutionary papers on signed languages and other related disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, semiotics, and deaf studies, history, and literature.

After a three-year hiatus, Sign Language Studies commenced publication in the Fall of 2000. The new editor was David F. Armstrong, distinguished anthropologist and author of Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language, and also the coauthor of Gesture and the Nature of Language with Stokoe and Sherman Wilcox. A long-time collaborator with Stokoe, Armstrong became a member of the SLS editorial board in 1986.

David Armstrong stepped down as editor at the end of 2009 and was succeeded by Ceil Lucas, Professor Emerita of Linguistics at Gallaudet University, co-author of Linguistics of American Sign Language, and author of numerous articles on the linguistics of signed languages. In addition, she has, for many years, been the editor of the Gallaudet University Press Sociolinguistics Series that now runs over 20 volumes of studies in the sociolinguistics of the world’s signed languages. Order Sign Language Studies now.