Gallaudet University Press

16:12 Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Archaeological Dig

A One-of-a-Kind Volume Unearths New Findings and Revelations About the History of American Sign Language

In Sign Language Archaeology: Understanding the Historical Roots of American Sign Language authors Ted Supalla and Patricia Clark investigate the origins of American Sign Language (ASL), its evolution from French Sign Language, and evidence about the word formation process of ASL, including data from 19th and early 20th century dictionaries.

“In this book,” explain Supalla and Clark, “we investigate the infancy of American Sign Language, which, at one time, was called simply ‘the sign language,’ or the ‘natural language of signs.’ We highlight the major events of the history of ASL, revealing information that until now has not been clearly understood.” In chapter one, the authors look first at traditional accounts of the inception of sign language and then move on to look in-depth at the documents that are the focus of this new study, a set of films produced by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) between 1910 and 1920. The authors state that the films “provide a window through which we can view previously unknown characteristics of early ASL and better understand the relationship between the earliest and modern forms of the language.”

Save 20% off the regular price by preordering Sign Language Archaeology now! For online orders, simply use the code “DEC2014”, or order by mail.

Booklist published a glowing review of Gallaudet University Press’s latest reference tool, stating, “This new American Sign Language (ASL) dictionary for children is published by Gallaudet University, the leading university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Aimed at emerging readers, this dictionary uses cute color illustrations for the signs and easy-to-read definitions for more than 1,000 words. What sets this dictionary apart from other books on ASL for children is the accompanying DVD, which shows children signing each of the words in the dictionary. Some of the words are also included in sentences, which are signed by adults. The DVD, which is easily navigable on a variety of devices, shows a multicultural, diverse group of individuals, emphasizing that anyone could be deaf. This dictionary will help deaf children broaden their vocabulary, as well as teach hearing children how to sign.” Order your copy of The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language today; you may do so by mail or online.

In her new study, Signs and Wonders: Religious Rhetoric and the Preservation of Sign Language, Tracy Ann Morse examines religious arguments for the preservation and use of sign language in historical documents and contemporary experiences related to deaf education, church ministries and congregations for deaf people, and activism in the deaf community. The Midwest Book Review offers this assessment: “Signs and Wonders is a semi-scholarly treatment that traces the frequent use of religious rhetoric by Deaf members to support sign language. It analyzes Gallaudet’s use of religious references in his speeches and presentations, considers different religious perspectives of the manualist and oralist trains of thought surrounding sign language, and examines this rhetoric in churches and other places deaf people congregate. The result is an intriguing survey packed with insights on sign language’s underlying influences. Recommended for college-level readers.” Read chapter two, and order Signs and Wonders online or by mail.

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