Sign Languages

Front Cover
Diane Brentari
Cambridge University Press, May 27, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines
What are the unique characteristics of sign languages that make them so fascinating? What have recent researchers discovered about them, and what do these findings tell us about human language more generally? This thematic and geographic overview examines more than forty sign languages from around the world. It begins by investigating how sign languages have survived and been transmitted for generations, and then goes on to analyse the common characteristics shared by most sign languages: for example, how the use of the visual system affects grammatical structures. The final section describes the phenomena of language variation and change. Drawing on a wide range of examples, the book explores sign languages both old and young, from British, Italian, Asian and American to Israeli, Al-Sayyid Bedouin, African and Nicaraguan. Written in a clear, readable style, it is the essential reference for students and scholars working in sign language studies and deaf studies.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
Part I History and transmission
17
2 Transmission of sign languages in Northern Europe
19
3 Transmission of sign languages in Latin America
46
4 Transmission of sign languages in the Nordic countries
74
5 Transmission of sign languages in Mediterranean Europe
95
6 Transmission of sign languages in Africa
113
7 Transmission of Polish sign systems
131
15 Grammaticalization in sign languages
332
16 The semanticsphonology interface
355
their grammatical and prosodic roles
381
Part III Variation and change
403
18 Sign languages in West Africa
405
19 Sign languages in the Arab world
433
20 Variation in American Sign Language
451
21 Sociolinguistic variation in British Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages
476

Part II Shared crosslinguistic characteristics
149
8 Notation systems
151
9 Verb agreement in sign language morphology
173
10 Functional markers in sign languages
197
11 Clause structure
225
12 Factors that form classifier signs
252
13 Handshape contrasts in sign language phonology
284
14 Syllable structure in sign language phonology
312
22 Variation in East Asian sign language structures
499
23 Crosslinguistic variation in prosodic cues
519
24 Deixis in an emerging sign language
543
25 The grammar of space in two new sign languages
570
Notes
593
References
618
Index
670
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About the author (2010)

Diane Brentari is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the ASL Program at Purdue University. She is the author of A Prosodic Model of Sign Language Phonology (1998) and has published widely in the area of sign language phonology and morphology. Her current research involves the crosslinguistic analyses of sign languages.

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