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American Annals of the Deaf

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Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze
Language Use in Deaf Communities

Ceil Lucas, Editor

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The Fourth Volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities Series

From Studies in Second Language Acquisition

This collection of ten articles constitutes the fourth volume of a series, Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities. The book’s title refers to an aspect of variation in sign languages (pinky extension) and an aspect of sign language discourse (eye gaze) and underscores the richness and uniqueness of language use in Deaf communities around the world. The ten articles are distributed among the book’s six sections: variation, languages in contact, language in education, discourse analysis, second language learning, and language attitudes. Although most of the articles focus on American Sign Language (ASL), one article explores grammatical constraints on fingerspelled English verb loans in British Sign Language, another examines the representation of character signs in Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) resulting from contact between TSL and written Chinese, and a third outlines historical, political, and educational issues affecting Irish Sign Language and the Irish Deaf community. The book’s coverage of diverse sign language communities is enhanced by an article exploring variation in the use of “tactile ASL” by Deaf-Blind people, in which case a language ordinarily processed in a visual modality is communicated through touch.

The remaining articles address ASL topics such as pinky extension, conversational repairs, eye gaze and pronominal reference, and spatial mapping in ASL storytelling. An article on the relationship of educational policy to language and cognition in Deaf children provides an overview of educational policies and practices affecting Deaf children and recommends the development of a Deaf educational policy that is grounded in scientific sociolinguistic research and that facilitates cognitive development in Deaf children. An article on the second language learning of ASL explores the social and affective factors that influence the learning of ASL and recommends an acculturation model as a guide for teachers of ASL.

This diverse collection of articles on language use in Deaf communities should be fairly accessible to readers with minimal familiarity with sign language linguistics. Most of the articles provide clear background information on technical aspects of sign language structure and use, as well as references to previous related research. The sociolinguistic topics and methods parallel those encountered in spoken language research.

-- Gerald P. Berent, Rochester Institute of Technology

Ceil Lucas is Professor, Department of Linguistics, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

ISBN 978-1-56368-070-0, ISSN 1080-5494, 6 x 9 casebound, 224 pages, figures, tables, references, index


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