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Bilingualism and Identity in Deaf Communities

Melanie Metzger, Editor

Now in Paperback!

Septmeber 2000

View the table of contents.
View the list of contributors.
Read an excerpt.
Read reviews: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, APA Review of Books, The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter (SLTI).

Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities, Volume 6

From APA Review of Books

This volume, titled Bilingualism and Identity in Deaf Communities, is the sixth in a series devoted to learning about and titled Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities. In part, this series attempts to bring concepts already widely extant in the related disciplines of anthropology, intercultural communication, linguistics, and psychology to the attention of those working with deaf individuals. In addition to bringing these insights from related fields to this specific population and context, the series also generates new information through its research on “marked” communities beyond the mainstream—the deaf communities. This linking of research, concepts, and practices across contexts and communities—both marked and unmarked—generates exciting and new perspectives of value and importance to everyone, both marked and unmarked alike.

       The volume’s unique strength lies in its inclusion of work by researchers from around the globe—writers who themselves represent a variety of language backgrounds from a multitude of countries. In all, 17 authors from Argentina (4), Austria (1), Mexico (1), New Zealand (2), Spain (4), Sweden, and the United States (6) contribute their findings. Moreover, their work focuses not only on their own countries of origin, but include other regions such as the European Union and Nicaragua. Together, their diverse international and intercultural perspectives provide the reader with a wide range of views and practices, whereas they also permit comparing and contrasting across cultures and across countries, an approach not often found in many compilations of research which are commonly culture and country specific.

       In an introductory section, the editor identifies two themes around which the entire series is oriented: (a) the perception of deaf people and the deaf communities (and variances across cultures), and (b) “bilingualism or multilingualism for deaf children” (p. xi), a subject of growing debate among deaf educators. The 11 articles assembled within the framework of these themes are grouped into seven areas, each with a specific focus. They include variation (in language); languages in contact, multilingualism, and language policy and planning; and language in education, discourse analysis, and language attitudes. Whereas this organization strives to highlight the content of each article or group of articles, in actuality, several articles contain material with overlapping focuses. Section III on multilingualism (with an article focusing on educational approaches in Barcelona), for example, could easily be included in the subsequent Section IV on language policy and planning.

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Melanie Metzger is a professor and chair of the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University.

ISBN 978-1-56368-589-7, ISSN 1080-5494, 6 x 9 paperback, 320 pages, references, index


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