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A Historical and Etymological Dictionary of American Sign Language

The story of how American Sign Language (ASL) came to be is almost mythic. In the early 19th century, a hearing American reverend, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, met a Deaf French educator, Laurent Clerc, who agreed to come to the United States and help establish the first school in America to use sign language to teach deaf children. The trail of ASL’s development meanders at this point. No documentation of early ASL was published until the late 19th century, almost seven decades after the school’s founding. While there are many missing pieces in the history of America’s sign language, plenty of data exist regarding ASL etymology. This book is the first to collect all known texts featuring illustrations of early ASL and historical images of French Sign Language―langue des signes française (LSF)―and link them with contemporary signs. Through rigorous study of historical texts, field research in communities throughout France and the U.S., and in-depth analysis of the cultural groups responsible for the lexicon, authors Emily Shaw and Yves Delaporte present a compelling and detailed account of the origins of over 500 ASL signs, including regional variations. Organized alphabetically by equivalent English glosses, each sign is accompanied by a succinct description of its origin and an LSF sign where appropriate. Featuring an introductory chapter on the history of the development of ASL and the etymological methodology used by the authors, this reference resource breaks new ground in the study of America’s sign language.

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I Fill This Small Space

The Writings of a Deaf Activist

Lawrence Newman, Edited by David Kars

Lawrence Newman became deaf at the age of five in 1930, and saw his father fight back tears knowing that his son would never hear again. The next time he saw his father cry was in 1978, when Newman received an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University, his alma mater. Newman was recognized for his achievements as a life-long advocate for deaf education, including receiving California’s Teacher of the Year award in 1968. Perhaps his greatest influence, however, stemmed from his many articles and columns that appeared in various publications, the best of which are featured in I Fill This Small Space: The Writings of a Deaf Activist. Editor David Kurs has organized Newman’s writings around his passions — deaf education, communication and language, miscellaneous columns and poems on Deaf life, and humorous insights on his activism. His articles excel both as seamless arguments supporting his positions and as windows on the historical conflicts that he fought: against the Least Restrictive Environment in favor of residential deaf schools; for sign language, Total Communication, and bilingual education; and as a deaf teacher addressing parents of deaf children. A gifted writer in all genres, Newman amuses with ease (“On Mini and Midi-Skirts”), and moves readers with his heartfelt verse (“Girl with a Whirligig”). Newman ranges wide in his ability, but he always maintains his focus on equal tights for deaf people, as he demonstrates in his title poem “I Fill This Small Space:” I fill this small space, this time Who is to say yours is better Than mine or mine yours

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In Our Hands

Educating Healthcare Interpreters

Laurie A. Swabey and Karen Malcolm, Editors

Deaf Americans have identified healthcare as the most difficult setting in which to obtain a qualified interpreter. Yet, relatively little attention has been given to developing evidence-based resources and a standardized body of knowledge to educate healthcare interpreters. In Our Hands: Educating Healthcare Interpreters addresses these concerns by delineating the best practices for preparing interpreters to facilitate full access for deaf people in healthcare settings. The first section of this volume begins with developing domains and competencies toward a teaching methodology for medical and mental health interpreters. The next chapter describes a discourse approach that relies on analyzing actual transcripts and recordings to train healthcare interpreters. Other chapters feature a model mental health interpreter training program in Alabama, using a Demand-Control Schema for experiential learning, the risk of vicarious trauma to interpreters, online educational opportunities, and interpreting for deaf health care professionals. The second section offers four perspectives on education, including healthcare literacy of the clients; the education of Deaf interpreters; the development of standards for spoken-language healthcare interpreters; and the perspectives of healthcare interpreter educators in Europe. The range and depth of In Our Hands takes significant strides in presenting educational opportunities that can enhance the critical services provided by healthcare interpreters to deaf clients.

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In Silence

Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World

Ruth Sidransky

At last, Ruth Sidranksy’s groundbreaking book In Silence: Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World is back in print. Her account of growing up as the hearing daughter of deaf Jewish parents in the Bronx and Brooklyn during the 1930s and1940s reveals the challenges deaf people faced during the Depression and afterward. Inside her family’s apartment, Sidransky knew a warm, secure place. She recalls her earliest memories of seeing words fall from her parents’ hands. She remembers her father entertaining the family endlessly with his stories, and her mother’s story of tying a red ribbon to herself and her infant daughter to know when she needed anything in the night. Outside the apartment, the cacophonous hearing world greeted Sidransky’s family with stark stares of curiosity as though they were “freaks.” Always upbeat, her proud father still found it hard to earn a living. When Sidransky started school, she was placed in a class for special needs children until the principal realized that she could hear and speak. Sidransky portrays her family with deep affection and honesty, and her frank account provides a living narrative of the Deaf experience in pre- and post-World War II America. In Silence has become an invaluable chronicle of a special time and place that will affect all who read it for years to come.

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Innovative Practices for Teaching Sign Language Interpreters

Cynthia B. Roy, Editor

Researchers now understand interpreting as an active process between two languages and cultures, with social interaction, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis as more appropriate theoretical frameworks. Roy’s penetrating new book acts upon these new insights by presenting six dynamic teaching practices to help interpreters achieve the highest level of skill. Elizabeth Winston and Christine Monikowski begin by explaining discourse mapping to enable students to develop a mental picture of a message’s meaning and the relationships of context, form, and content. Kyra Pollitt discusses critical discourse analysis, to reveal some of the cultural influences that shape a speaker’s language use. Melanie Metzger describes preparing role-plays so that students learn to effectively switch back and forth between languages, manage features such as overlap, and make relevant contributions to interaction, such as indicating the source of an utterance. Jeffrey Davis illustrates the translation skills that form the basis for teaching consecutive and simultaneous interpreting to help students understand the intended meaning of the source message, and also the manner in which listeners understand it. Rico Peterson demonstrates the use of recall protocols, which can be used to teach metacognitive skills and to assess the student’s sign language comprehension. Finally, Janice Humphrey details the use of graduation portfolios, a valuable assessment tool used by faculty to determine a student’s level of competency. These imaginative techniques in Innovative Practices promise gains in sign language interpreting that will benefit teachers, students, and clients alike in the very near future.

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International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreting

Jemina Napier, Editor

From the moment the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) was established in 2005, an overwhelming wave of requests from around the world arrived seeking information and resources for educating and training interpreters. This new collection provides those answers with an international overview on interpreter training from experts in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States. Whether from income-rich or income-poor countries, the 31 contributors presented here provide insights on how sign language interpreter training has developed in each nation, and also how trainers have dealt with the difficulties that they encountered. Many of the contributors relate the movement away from ad hoc short courses sponsored by Deaf communities. They mark the transition from the early struggles of trainers against the stigmatization of sign languages to full-time degree programs in institutions of higher education funded by their governments. Others investigate how culture, religion, politics, and legislation affect the nurturing of professional sign language interpreters, and they address the challenges of extending training opportunities nationally through the use of new technology. Together, these diverse perspectives offer a deeper understanding and comparison of interpreter training issues that could benefit the programs in every nation.

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International Sign

Linguistic, Usage, and Status Issues

International Sign (IS) is widely used among deaf people and interpreters at international events, but what exactly is it, m what are its linguistic features, where does its lexicon come from, and do all signers understand it in the same way? This groundbreaking collection is the first volume to provide answers to these questions. Editors Rachel Rosenstock and Jemina Napier have assembled an international group of renowned linguists and interpreters to examine various aspects of International Sign. Their contributions are divided into three parts: International Sign as a Language; International Sign in Action—Interpreting, Translation, and Teaching; and International Sign Policy and Language Planning. The articles cover a range of topics including the morpho-syntactic and discursive structures of interpreted IS, the effect on comprehension of the interplay between conventional linguistic elements and nonconventional gestural elements in IS discourse, how deaf singers who use different signed languages establish communication, Deaf/hearing IS interpreting teams and how they sign depicting verbs, how best to teach foundation-level IS skills, the work of the International Sign Interpreting Assessment and Certification project, and explorations of the best ways to prepare interpreters for international events.

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Interpreter Education in the Digital Age

Innovation, Access, and Change

This collection brings together innovative research and approaches for blended learning using digital technology in interpreter education for signed and spoken languages. Volume editors Jemina Napier and Suzanne Ehrlich call upon the expertise of 21 experts, including themselves, to report on the current technology in applying digital enhancement to interpreter education in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Divided into three parts, Innovation, Change, and Community Engagement, this study focuses on the technology itself, rather than how technology enhances curriculum, delivery, or resources. Initiatives described in this collection range from the implementation of on-demand interpreting using iPad technology; creating personalized, small-group, multidimensional models suited to digital media for 160 languages; introducing students to interpreting in a 3D world by through an IVY virtual environment; applying gaming principles to interpreter education; assessing the amenability of the digital pen in the hybrid mode of interpreting; development of multimedia teaching and learning objects to support blended delivery of Deaf; developing multimedia content for both open access and structured interpreter education environments; to preparing Interpreting Students for Interactions in social media forums, and more. Interpreter Education in the Digital Age provides a context for the application of technologies in interpreter education from an international viewpoint across languages and modalities.

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Interpreting in Legal Settings

Debra Russell and Sandra Hale, Editors

The work of interpreters in legal settings, whether they are spoken or signed language interpreters, is filled with enormous complexity and challenges. This engrossing volume presents six, data-based studies from both signed and spoken language interpreter researchers on a diverse range of topics, theoretical underpinnings, and research methodologies. In the first chapter, Ruth Morris analyzes the 1987 trial of Ivan (John) Demjanjuk in Jerusalem, and reveals that what might appear to be ethical breaches often were no more than courtroom dynamics, such as noise and overlapping conversation. Waltraud Kolb and Franz Pöchhacker studied 14 asylum appeals in Austria and found that interpreters frequently aligned themselves with the adjudicators. Bente Jacobsen presents a case study of a Danish-English interpreter whose discourse practices expose her attempts to maintain, mitigate, or enhance face among the participants. In the fourth chapter, Jemina Napier and David Spencer investigate the effectiveness of interpreting in an Australian courtroom to determine if deaf citizens should participate as jurors. Debra Russell analyzed the effectiveness of preparing sign language interpreter teams for trials in Canada and found mixed results. The final chapter presents Zubaidah Ibrahim-Bell’s research on the inadequate legal services in Malaysia due to the fact that only seven sign interpreters are available. Taken together, these studies point to a “coming of age” of the field of legal interpreting as a research discipline, making Interpreting in Legal Settings an invaluable, one-of-a-kind acquisition.

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Interpreting in Multilingual, Multicultural Contexts

Rachel Locker McKee and Jeffrey E. Davis, Editors

Nineteen international interpreting authorities contribute their research and findings to Interpreting in Multilingual, Multicultural Contexts, the seventh volume in the Studies in Interpretation series. These experts probe the complex nature of interpreted interaction involving Deaf and hearing people of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They also analyze the contextualized interpreting practices and considerations that transpire from this diversity. In three parts, this trenchant collection shows how Deaf and hearing people use language in fluctuating ways to connect with each other. The chapters in Part 1C Expanding Frontiers: ASL-English-Spanish Interpreting in the United States C consider sign language interpreting at the border between Baja California and the state; trilingual video relay service (VRS) interpreting; and constructing a valid, reliable trilingual interpreting testing instrument. Part 2 C Mediating Indigenous Voices C explores how to construct roles in a Mori Deaf trilingual context; considerations for interpreting signed languages of American Indian Communities; and interpreting for indigenous Deaf clients in far north Queensland, Australia. In the final section, Part 3 C Globalizing: Interpreting in International Contexts C protocols for interpreting in multilingual international conferences are analyzed. The last chapter describes the arduousness of sign language interpreting in multilingual, international settings. It acts as a fitting conclusion to this examination of the challenges to the sociolinguistic repertoire of interpreters mediating across multiplex combinations of culture and language.

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