front cover of Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze
Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze
Language Use in Deaf Communities
Ceil Lucas
Gallaudet University Press, 1998

The Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities Series continues its detailed exploration of language dynamics among deaf people in the fourth entry, Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze: Language Use in Deaf Communities. This volume’s ten meticulously prepared chapters reflect the refinements of research in six major sociolinguistics areas. Rob Hoopes’ work, “A Preliminary Examination of Pinky Extension: Suggestions Regarding Its Occurrence, Constraints, and Function,” commences Part One: Variation with a sound explanation of this American Sign Language (ASL) phonological characteristic. Part Two: Languages in Contact includes findings by Jean Ann on contact between Taiwanese Sign Language and written Taiwanese.

       Priscilla Shannon Gutierrez considers the relationship of educational policy with language and cognition in deaf children in Part Three: Language in Education, and in Part Four: Discourse Analysis, Melanie Metzger discusses eye gaze and pronominal reference in ASL. Part Five: Second-Language Learning presents the single chapter “An Acculturation Model for ASL Learners,” by Mike Kemp. Sarah E. Burns defines Irish Sign Language as Ireland’s second minority language after Gaelic, in Part Six: Language Attitudes, the final area of concentration in this rigorously researched volume. These studies and the others by the respected scholars featured in Pinky Extension and Eye Gaze make it an outstanding and eminently valuable addition to this series.


front cover of The Politics of Appalachian Rhetoric
The Politics of Appalachian Rhetoric
Amanda E. Hayes
West Virginia University Press, 2018

In exploring the ways that Appalachian people speak and write, Amanda E. Hayes raises the importance of knowing and respecting communication styles within a marginalized culture. Diving deep into the region’s historical roots—especially those of the Scotch-Irish and their influence on her own Appalachian Ohio—Hayes reveals a rhetoric with its own unique logic, utility, and poetry.

Hayes also considers the headwinds against Appalachian rhetoric, notably ideologies about poverty and the biases of the school system. She connects these to challenges that Appalachian students face in the classroom and pinpoints pedagogical and structural approaches for change. 

Throughout, Hayes blends conventional scholarship with autobiography, storytelling, and language, illustrating Appalachian rhetoric’s validity as a means of creating and sharing knowledge.


front cover of The Power of Babel
The Power of Babel
Language and Governance in the African Experience
Ali A. Mazrui and Alamin M. Mazrui
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Linguists estimate that there are currently nearly 2,000 languages in Africa, a staggering figure that is belied by the relatively few national languages. While African national politics, economics, and law are all conducted primarily in the colonial languages, the cultural life of the majority of citizens is conducted in a bewildering Babel of local and regional dialects, making language itself the center of debates over multiculturalism, gender studies, and social theory. In The Power of Babel, the noted Africanist scholar Ali Mazrui and linguist Alamin Mazrui explore this vast territory of African language.

The Power of Babel is one of the first comprehensive studies of the complex linguistic constellations of Africa. It draws on Ali Mazrui's earlier work in its examination of the "triple heritage" of African culture, in which indigenous, Islamic, and Western traditions compete for influence. In bringing the idea of the triple heritage to language, the Mazruis unravel issues of power, culture, and modernity as they are embedded in African linguistic life.

The first section of the book takes a global perspective, exploring such issues as the Eurocentrism of much linguistic scholarship on Africa; part two takes an African perspective on a variety of issues from the linguistically disadvantaged position of women in Africa to the relation of language policy and democratic development; the third section presents a set of regional studies, centering on the Swahili language's exemplification of the triple heritage.The Power of Babel unites empirical information with theories of nationalism and pluralism—among others—to offer the richest contextual account of African languages to date.

front cover of Primary Movement in Sign Languages
Primary Movement in Sign Languages
A Study of Six Languages
Donna Jo Napoli
Gallaudet University Press, 2011

Is it possible to identify sign languages by their prosody, that is, the rhythm and stress of sign production, and then determine if they are related to each other or other sign languages? If so, reasoned authors Donna Jo Napoli, Mark Mai, and Nicholas Gaw, perhaps they could offer such identification as a new way to typologize, or categorize sign languages by their structural features. Their new collaboration Primary Movement in Sign Languages: A Study of Six Languages traces the process and findings from this unique investigation.

Resolving on the direction of movement as the prosodic factor to track, they began their research by comparing five sign languages: American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), Italian Sign Language (LIS), French Sign Language (LSF), and Australian Sign Language (Auslan). They soon discovered that the languages in their study clustered with respect to several characteristics along genetic lines, with BSL and Auslan contrasting with LSF, LIS, and ASL. They learned that sign languages with the same geographic origin evolved differently when relocated, and they isolated differences in each individual sign language. They compared four of these established sign languages with the newly emerging Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL), with the exception of ASL due to their past close contact, thereby validating their work as the first study to identify sign language relationships without depending on grammar.


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