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17:1 Friday, January 23, 2015

The Rich History of a Beautiful Language

New Resource Documents the Origin and Evolution of More Than 500 Signs

The soon-to-be-released A Historical and Etymological Dictionary of American Sign Language is “the first attempt at accumulating all known documentation of the lexicon,” note authors Emily Shaw and Yves Delaporte. “It is our fervent hope that more historical documentation of American Sign Language will be found and that more research into the language’s etymology will emerge as a consequence of our work. The richness and beauty of this language and its people deserve nothing less.”

Shaw and Delaporte explain that “this work was precipitated by a profound curiosity about the historical relationship between American Sign Language (ASL) and French Sign Language (LSF). Previous studies that compare contemporary ASL and contemporary LSF only provide an account of where each language ended up. By incorporating the history of each sign in our entries, we provide a richer explanation behind the semantics of the lexicon and show that the forms of signs are always motivated by something, be it an icon, a cultural or material object, an action, a gesture, or a metaphor. Because so many American signs were inherited from a different cultural group, the inextricable link between language and language user is quite clear. In writing a dictionary that is both etymological and historical, we shed light on the progression from etymon to contemporary form as triggered by sociocultural impulses.”

Preorder A Historical and Etymological Dictionary of American Sign Language now, and take advantage of your exclusive subscriber 20% discount. Type “JAN2015” in the box marked “use promo code,” or order by mail.


In her new memoir, Coming to My Senses: One Woman’s Cochlear Implant Journey, author Claire H. Blatchford describes in prose and verse what life has been like living with a cochlear implant in the years since being implanted at the age of 67. In a recent review, Library Journal commented, “Blatchord’s story is compelling, and her frank portrayal of life as a deaf individual is enjoyable. Besides her triumphs, she expresses the insecurities and difficulties she faced while navigating a hearing world. So much of the account is very relatable, and it is quite clear how much she enjoys her life. VERDICT: This memoir will appeal to those who appreciate candid biographies, and it is a unique addition to collections about deafness.” In the chapter titled “Moment of Decision,” Blatchford describes how she felt when she knew she was going to get a cochlear implant. Read it now, and order Coming to My Senses online or by mail.


The Midwest Book Review recognizes Deaf Interpreters at Work: International Insights as an “involving, scholarly study for any collection strong in Deaf issues and culture.” In this first-of-its kind volume, 17 widely respected scholars depict the everyday practices of Deaf interpreters in their respective nations, detailing the development of accreditation to raise their professional profiles. Topics include the definition of Deaf interpreters (DIs), the kinds of work they do, the ways in which they work, the kind of training that is available for them in different places around the world, and how they work with deaf-blind people. Read more about the inner workings of DIs, and order your copy of Deaf Interpreters at Work, the 11th volume in the Studies in Interpretation series, online or by mail.


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