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Personal Experience Narratives in American Sign Language
Personal narratives are one way people code their experiences and convey them to others. Given that speakers can simultaneously express information and define a social situation, analyzing how and why people structure the telling of personal narratives can provide insight into the social dimensions of language use. In Extraordinary from the Ordinary: Personal Experience Narratives in American Sign Language, Kristin Jean Mulrooney shows that accounts by Deaf persons expressed in ASL possess the same characteristics and perform the same function as oral personal narratives. Mulrooney analyzes 12 personal narratives by ASL signers to determine how they “tell” their stories. She examines the ASL form of textual narration to see how signers use lexical signs to grammatically encode information, and how they also convey perceived narration. In perceived narration, the presenter depicts a past occurrence in the immediate environment that allows the audience to partially witness and interpret the event. Mulrooney determined that ASL narratives reveal a patterned structure consisting of an introduction, a main events section for identifying and describing past occurrences, and a conclusion. They also can include background information, an explication section in which the presenter expands or clarifies an event, and a section that allows the presenter to explain his or her feelings about what happened. Liberally illustrated with photographs from videotaped narratives, Extraordinary from the Ordinary offers an engrossing, expansive view of personal narratives embodying the unique linguistic elements of ASL.
A Modernist Novel by Wang Wen-hsing
Wang Wen-hsing caused a sensation in Taiwan in 1972 with publication of Family Catastrophe, his first full-length novel. Many critics were outraged, called it socially irresponsible, morally corrupt, and stylistically irrational, but the novel weathered its controversial reception to become what is now widely regarded as a masterpiece in modern Chinese fiction and the benchmark of Taiwan’s Modernist movement. Often described as Joycean, Family Catastrophe is significant for its stylistic and linguistic experimentation as well as for its disturbing and universal themes. It appears now in English for the first time. Fiction From Modern China
Narrative Forms in the Novels of Nagai Kafu
Stephen Snyder examines Kafu's fiction in terms of narrative strategy, placing him squarely within some of the most important currents of literary modernism--at the nexus of Naturalism and the largely antithetical development of the modernist reflexive novel.
Novels affirm the power of fiction to portray the horizons of knowledge and to dramatize the ways that the truths of human existence are created and preserved. Professor Saldivar shows that deconstructive readings of novels remind us that we do not apprehend the world directly but through interpretive codes.
Originally published in 1984.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
A Translation and Philosophical Interpretation of the Zhongyong
The Zhongyong--translated here as Focusing the Familiar--has been regarded as a document of enormous wisdom for more than two millennia and is one of Confucianism's most sacred and seminal texts. It achieved truly canonical preeminence when it became one of the Four Books compiled and annotated by the Southern Song dynasty philosopher Zhu Xi (1130-1200). Within the compass of world literature, the influence of these books (Analects of Confucius, Great Learning, Zhongyong, and Mencius) on the Sinitic world of East Asia has been no less than the Bible and the Qu'ran on Western civilization. With this new translation David Hall and Roger Ames provide a distinctly philosophical interpretation of the Zhongyong, remaining attentive to the semantic and conceptual nuances of the text to account for its central place within classical Chinese literature. They present the text in such a way as to provide Western philosophers and other intellectuals access to a set of interpretations and arguments that offer new insights into issues and concerns common to both Chinese and Western thinkers. In addition to the annotated translation, a glossary of terms gives in concise form important senses of the terms that play a key role in the argument of the Zhongyong. An appendix addresses some of the more technical issues relevant to the understanding of both the history of the text and the history of its English translations. Here the translators introduce readers to the best contemporary textual studies of the Zhongyong and make use of the most recent archaeological discoveries in China to place the work within its own intellectual context.
The meaning of any linguistic expression resides not only in the words, but also in the ways that those words are conveyed. In her new study, Miako N. P. Rankin highlights the crucial interrelatedness of form and meaning at all levels in order to consider specific types of American Sign Language (ASL) expression. In particular, Form, Meaning, and Focus in American Sign Language, Miako N. P. Rankin considers how ASL non-agent focus, similar to the meaning of passive voice in English. Rankin’s analyses of the form-meaning correspondences of ASL expressions of non-agent focus reveals an underlying pattern that can be traced across sentence and verb types. This pattern produces meanings with various levels of focus on the agent. Rankin has determined in her meticulous study that the pattern of form-meaning characteristic of non-agent focus in ASL is used prolifically in day-to-day language. The recognition of the frequency of this pattern holds implications regarding the acquisition of ASL, the development of curricula for teaching ASL, and the analysis of ASL discourse in effective interpretation.
The Taiwanese Example
In the growing body of research on sign language linguistics, one area of inquiry considers an important component of all sign languages — handshapes — and whether the use of specific kinds increase in direct relation to the ease of their formation. Author Jean Ann provides significant clarification in her book Frequency of Occurrence and Ease of Articulation of Sign Language Handshapes: The Taiwanese Example. Ann employs a straightforward methodology in her examination of the use of Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) handshapes in five succinct chapters. In the first chapter, she discusses the two approaches linguists have taken toward understanding languages, and how these theories have influenced sign language researchers’ consideration of the ease of articulation and frequency of handshapes. In her second chapter, Ann delineates the physiology of hands and explains why certain digits move with greater dexterity than others. Ann applies this physiological information in the third chapter to construct a model for determining the ease of articulation of any logically possible handshape. She divides the handshapes into three categories, ranging from impossible to easy. In the fourth chapter, she applies her model to examine the patterns of TSL, first by describing the 56 handshapes identified in TSL, then determining how often each is used. She then compares the usage data to the handshapes’ ease of formation. The final chapter summarizes her findings and suggests implications of this work that are bound to generate further speculation and study on sign language handshapes in the future.
A Usage-Based Approach
An Oceanic Language of Vanuatu
Spoken on Mavea Island by approximately 32 people, Mavea is an endangered Oceanic language of Vanuatu. This work provides grammatical descriptions of this hitherto undescribed language. Fourteen chapters, containing more than 1,400 examples, cover topics in the phonology and morphosyntax of Mavea, with an emphasis on the latter. Of particular interest are examples of individual speaker variation presented throughout the grammar; the presence of three linguo-labials (still used today by a single speaker) that were unexpectedly found before the rounded vowel /o/; and a chapter on numerals and the counting system, which have long been replaced by Bislama’s but are remembered by a handful of speakers.
Most of the grammatical descriptions derive from a corpus of texts of various genres (conversations, traditional stories, personal histories, etc.) gathered during the author’s fieldwork, conducted for eleven months between 2005 and 2007.