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3:9 Monday, September 24, 2001

Linguists Say "Same Word, Different Sign"

How do you pronounce the following words -- which and test? Which or hwich? Test or tes’”? In Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language, Ceil Lucas, Robert Bayley, and Clayton Valli along with a host of exceptional researchers devoted seven years to applying techniques for analyzing spoken language variation to American Sign Language. In the same manner that people of different ages, socioeconomic class, gender, ethnic backgrounds, regions, and sexual orientation speak English differently, the same word in ASL is signed in different ways. For example, DEAF can be signed by moving the index finger from the ear to the chin; by reversing the order to touch the chin first, then the ear; or simply by touching the cheek.

Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language is the seventh volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series. “The idea for the project grew directly out of my training and research experience in spoken language variation, Lucas writes in her introduction. “The original idea was to provide a comprehensive description of the variables and constraints at work in sign language variation, with four decades of research on spoken language variation as the foundation. Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language is the crowning achievement of a triumphant crusade that began forty years ago. Read more about this intriguing volume and order Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language at a special savings of 20% off.

In its September 2001 issue, CHOICE hails Special Education in the 21st Century: Issues of Inclusion and Reform as “beautifully written...the volume is to be commended because it is readable, thought-provoking, and offers material appropriate for those interested in the future of special education.” Editors Margret A. Winzer and Kas Mazurek's Special Education in the 21st Century also earned the endorsement of Disabilities Studies Quarterly (DSQ) in its Summer 2001 issue: “Winzer and Mazurek do an admirable job in presenting an intelligent, well-organized, interesting overview and discussion of inclusion....This is a valuable item for any library, whether personal or professional...” Read the reviews of CHOICE and DSQ and order Special Education in the 21st Century. You can also read an excerpt from Chapter 11: “Bilingual/Bicultural Education for Deaf Students” here.

Simon Winchester, author of the bestselling book The Professor and the Madman, A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, will be the keynote speaker at the Gallaudet University Press Institute international conference “Dictionaries and the Standardization of Languages,” November 7 and 8, 2001. Prior to his current success, Winchester earned a reputation as a talented writer and world-traveler who contributed to National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, and Smithsonian magazine, and as the foreign correspondent for The Guardian and the Sunday Times. He had written six previous books before learning of Dr. W.C. Minor, the brilliant, insane surgeon serving a life sentence for murder who teamed with Professor James Murray, a respected scholar, to create the Oxford English Dictionary. Enamored with words himself, Winchester seasoned The Professor and the Madman with wry definitions related to the book's events, and provided a brief, engrossing history of dictionaries. Winchester will open the conference at 9:00 a.m., November 7th in the Gallaudet University Kellogg Conference Center. For more information about the conference and registration, go online to http://dictionaries.gallaudet.edu.


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