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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Primary Movement in Sign Languages
A Study of Six Languages

Donna Jo Napoli, Mark
Mai, and Nicholas Gaw

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From Reference & Research Book News

Napoli (linguistics, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania), Nicholas Gaw, and Mark Mai, the latter two presumably her students before heading into other fields, began investigating whether it was possible to identify sign languages by their prosody, and if so, whether such identification could be used to typologize sign languages. Having settled on direction of movement as the one prosodic factor to track, they found that it was indeed possible. Looking further they found that the sign languages originally five in the study formed different groups according to different criteria. Based on their findings, they distinguish between origin-bound languages which remain in the geographical region of the sign language they evolved from and diaspora languages, that have moved away and interacted with indigenous sign languages in their new range.

Donna Jo Napoli is Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA.

Mark Mai, a student at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, received his BA in linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Nicholas Gaw, a political professional in Washington, DC, received his BA in history and linguistics at Swarthmore College.

Print Edition

ISBN 978-1-56368-491-3, 6 x 9 casebound, 222 pages, tables, figures, photographs



ISBN 978-1-56368-492-0


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