Sign Language of the Deaf - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780126251500, 9781483271958

Sign Language of the Deaf

1st Edition

Psychological, Linguistic, and Sociological Perspectives

Editors: I. M. Schlesinger Lila Namir
eBook ISBN: 9781483271958
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th February 1978
Page Count: 394
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Sign Language of the Deaf: Psychological, Linguistic, and Sociological Perspectives provides information pertinent to the psychological, educational, social, and linguistic aspects of sign language. This book presents the development in the study of sign language.

Organized into four parts encompassing 10 chapters, this book begins with an overview of the fascinating account of sign language acquisition by small children. This text then explores the grammar of sign language and discusses the linguistic status of natural and contrived sign languages. Other chapters consider the many peculiarities of the lexicon and grammar of sign language, and its differences in such respects from oral language. This book discusses as well sign language from the angle of psycholinguistics. The final chapter deals with the educational implications of the use of sign language.

This book is a valuable resource for linguists and psycholinguists. Readers who are interested in sign language will also find this book useful.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors



Part I Phylogeny and Ontogeny

1 The Phylogeny of Sign Language

The Question of Animal Language

Anthropoid Ape Communication

Theories About Gesture and Language—Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Early Nineteenth-Century Gestural Theories of Language Origin

Contemporary Gestural Theories of Language Origin

"Equal Time" Theories: Gestural and Vocal Languages Developed Together

Glottogenesis and Tools

Hunting and Glottogenesis

Language and the Mediation of Thought

Cognitive Demands on the Human Brain

The Antiquity of Spoken Language

Language after the Shift to Speech



2 The Acquisition of Bimodal Language

Design Features in Speech and Sign

Nontraditional Language Acquisition

Traditional Transmission—Deaf Children of Deaf Parents

Connie's Children


Part II Linguistic Aspects

3 The Grammar of Sign Language

The Problem of Sign Language Grammar

Relative Position of Signs

The Grammatical Armory of Sign Language


4 Contrived Sign Language

Problems of Definition

Design Features for Language

Isomorphism between Speech and Signing

Classificatory Criteria for Signing Behavior

Contrived Signing Systems


5 Bilingual Interference


Word and Sign

Bilingual Interference in Utterances



Part III Psychological, Sociological, and Educational Aspects

6 Some Psycholinguistic Aspects of Sign Language

Perception and the Production of Language

Perception and the Comprehension of Language

Perspectives and Conclusions


7 Sociolinguistic Aspects of the Use of Sign Language

Linguistic Methodology and Sociolinguistic Research

Sociolinguistics and Gestural Sign Language

Sociolinguistic Implications of Field Studies of Deaf Adults and Deaf Children

Cognitive Processes and Normatively Sanctioned Representational Systems

Concluding Remarks


8 Social-Psychological Aspects of the Use of Sign Language

Being Different

Sign Language and Total Communication

Communication between Deaf and Hearing Persons

Sign Language Interpreters

Family Constellations of the Deaf

Linguistic Problems in Connection with Mental Illness

The Deaf and the Christian Church

Associations and Clubs for the Deaf

Bulletins and Periodicals

Autobiographies and Fiction Dealing with the Deaf

Sign Language Dictionaries

Utilization of Films, TV, and Videotape

Theater of the Deaf

Concluding Remarks


9 Sign Language in the Education of the Deaf

The Varieties of Language

A Little Bit of the Recent History of the Education of the Deaf

Some Consequences of the Demography of Deafness

Manual Communication Instructional Materials

Learning a Communication Code—A Language


The Current State of Affairs

Some Final Words


Part IV Methodological Problems

10 Problems in Sign Language Research

Extrinsic Problems

Intrinsic Problems

Theories of Language




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© Academic Press 1978
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

I. M. Schlesinger

Lila Namir

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