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American Annals of the Deaf

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The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language

Clayton Valli, Editor in Chief

Illustrated by Peggy Swartzel Lott, Daniel Renner, and Rob Hills

View select illustrations.
Read reviews: Library Journal, Choice Wisconsin Bookwatch, ARBAonline, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.


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From Library Journal

This extraordinary reference work is composed of approximately 3000 illustrated entries, each showing the American Sign Language equivalent for an English word. The entries are arranged alphabetically and include synonyms where appropriate. The comprehensive index helps users find words without a main entry of their own, and the introductory materials help users understand the concepts behind signing, such as handshape, movement, nonmanual signals, finger-spelling, and how to form a sentence. The illustrations are large enough to easily decipher and there are no text descriptions of the signs, which actually can be more confusing than an illustration alone. The simple, elegant style of illustration clearly shows movement; lighter lines are used for the beginning position, heavier lines show the final position, and arrows indicate direction of the movement. For anyone with even a basic familiarity with this language, the entries are understandable and easy to replicate. But as wonderful as the illustrations are, there are inherent limitations in rendering movement in two-dimensions on paper, and the folks at Gallaudet acknowledge this by also including an easy-to-use full-color DVD, which features demonstrations of each sign. Users can play each entry at normal speed, slow it down, or step through an entry frame by frame-an invaluable option for some of the more complicated signs. Bottom Line: For beginning signers, this book and DVD set is an excellent resource to help practice signs and expand vocabulary. For advanced signers, others in the deaf community, and anyone interested in American Sign Language, this is an excellent vocabulary reference book. For libraries, public and academic alike, this is an essential acquisition.

Clayton Valli was an assistant professor in the Master’s Interpreting Program at Gallaudet University.

ISBN 978-1-56368-282-7, 7 x 10 casebound, 600 pages, 3000+ sign illustrations, index, full-color DVD


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