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Storytelling and Conversation

Discourse in Deaf Communities

Elizabeth A. Winston, Editor

Publication Year: 1999

In this intriguing book, renowned sociolinguistics experts explore the importance of discourse analysis, a process that examines patterns of language to understand how users build cooperative understanding in dialogues. It presents discourse analyses of sign languages native to Bali, Italy, England, and the United States. Studies of internal context review the use of space in ASL to discuss space, how space in BSL is used to “package” complex narrative tasks, how signers choose linguistic tools to structure storytelling, and how affect, emphasis, and comment are added in text telephone conversations. Inquiries into external contexts observe the integration of deaf people and sign language into language communities in Bali, and the language mixing that occurs between deaf parents and their hearing children. Both external and internal contexts are viewed together, first in an examination of applying internal ASL text styles to teaching written English to Deaf students and then in a consideration of the language choices of interpreters who must shift footing to manage the “interpreter’s paradox.” Storytelling and Conversation casts new light on discourse analysis, which will make it a welcome addition to the sociolinguistics canon.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Editorial Advisory Board

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pp. vii


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pp. viii

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Editor’s Introduction

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pp. ix-x

Storytelling and Conversation focuses on discourse analysis. Discourse analysis looks at language in use, analyzing patterns beyond the level of the sentence, seeking to understand how language users build cooperative understanding through interaction. ...


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Talking about Space with Space: Describing Environments in ASL

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pp. 3-26

Spatial discourse—talking about space—usually involves adopting a particular perspective on the scene or environment being described. For example, an addressee may be taken on a mental tour of an environment, as in this example from Linde and Labov's study of New Yorker's descriptions of their apartments...

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Event Packaging in British Sign Language Discourse

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pp. 27-58

Sign languages are articulated in the space on and around the bodies of signers. The construction of extended discourse by native British Sign Language (BSL) signers calls on a rich reference system that exploits linguistic, as well as topographic, representational spaces. ...

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Storytelling in the Visual Mode: A Comparison of ASL and English

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pp. 59-82

This paper is an investigation into the tools of language and how these tools influence the structure of the symbol system. Past studies of American Sign Language (ASL) storytelling have focused on how features of storytelling—such as pauses, eye gaze, and other nonmanual behaviors...

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Affect, Emphasis, and Comment in Text Telephone Conversations

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pp. 83-106

This paper reports on an application of the principles of conversation analysis (CA) to a deaf person's text telephone conversation with both deaf and hearing coparticipants. It is assumed that such conversations are examples of natural everyday talk.1 ...


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Sign Languages as a Natural Part of the Linguistic Mosaic: The Impact of Deaf People on Discourse Forms in North Bali, Indonesia

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pp. 109-148

This paper examines the use of signed discourses in the villages and towns of north Bali in Indonesia. Over the last few years we have been studying the social, cultural, and linguistic practices of a community of deaf people living in a village in North Bali (see Branson, Miller, and Marsaja 1996). ...

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Italian Sign Language and Spoken Italian in Contact: An Analysis of Interactions between Deaf Parents and Hearing Children

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pp. 149-161

In Italy, there has been no research yet into the linguistic outcome of interactions between deaf parents and their hearing children. Whereas some deaf parents expose their children to sign language, others tend to mix signs and Italian words or simply to voice their sign language. ...

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GET-TO-THE-POINT: Academic Bilingualism and Discourse in American Sign Language and Written English

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pp. 162-189

In recent years, a number of educational programs for Deaf students in the United States have begun to adopt a bilingual philosophy in order to encourage the formal development of language skills in both American Sign Language (ASL) and some form of English (see Strong 1995). ...

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Footing Shifts in an Interpreted Mock Interview

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pp. 190-217

Interpreting has long been viewed as if an interpreter is merely a tool to interaction. For example, the traditional view assumes that doctor-patient discourse facilitated by an interpreter is a dyad rather than a triad. In conjunction with this view, the field of interpreting has perpetuated...


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pp. 219-227

E-ISBN-13: 9781563682506
E-ISBN-10: 1563682508
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563680816
Print-ISBN-10: 1563680815

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: tables, figures
Publication Year: 1999