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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Itís Not What You Sign,
Itís How You Sign It
Politeness in American Sign Language

Jack Hoza

View the table of contents.
Read chapter eight.
Read reviews: Wisconsin Bookwatch, Choice, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.


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From Choice

American Sign Language (ASL) involves much more than the hands. In their Deaf Tend Your: Non-manual Signals in American Sign Language (1996), Byron Bridges and Melanie Metzger point out that the facial area is rich in morphological, lexical, and syntactic meaning. Until recently, however, eyebrow lifts, puffed cheeks, movements of the mouth, head tilts, and eye gazes have been relatively unexplored in ASL linguistics. In this investigation of how to express politeness using the pragmatics of ASL, Hoza (Univ. of New Hampshire, Manchester) examines two forms of politeness: requests and rejections. He debunks the myth that ASL signers are always necessarily more direct than English speakers in their communication style. The book is written in an easy-to-understand style, and the pictures of the nonmanual signals are clear and easy to follow. That said, a companion DVD illustrating the authorís numerous examples of politeness forms would have served readers well. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers, all levels.

Jack Hoza is Director of the Sign Language Interpretation Program at the University of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH.

ISBN 978-1-56368-352-7, 6 x 9 casebound, 248 pages, tables, figures, photographs, references, index


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