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Language and Linguistics > Sign Language

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International Perspectives on Sign Language Interpreting Cover

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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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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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Investigations in Healthcare Interpreting

In healthcare, the accuracy of interpretation is the most critical component of safe and effective communication between providers and patients in medical settings characterized by language and cultural barriers. Although medical education should prepare healthcare providers for common issues they will face in practice, their training often does not adequately teach the communication skills necessary to work with patients who use interpreters. This new volume in the Studies in Interpretation series addresses critical topics in communication in healthcare settings around the world. Investigations in Healthcare Interpreting consists of ten chapters contributed by a broad array of international scholars. They address topics as diverse as the co-construction of medical conversation between interlocutors, healthcare interpretation in Ireland, and how interpreters make requests for clarification in their work. Using a variety of methodological approaches including ethnography, questionnaires, observation, and diary accounts, these scholars report on trials of simultaneous video interpreting in Austrian hospitals; direct, interpreted, and translated healthcare information for Australian deaf people; the interpretation of medical interview questions from English into ASL; and specialized psychological/psychiatric diagnostic tests for deaf and hard of hearing clients. Researchers, practitioners, and students, as well as all healthcare professionals, will find this volume to be an invaluable resource.

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Issues Unresolved

New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education

Amatzia Weisel, Editor

Of the more than 400 studies presented at the 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf, the 20 most incisive papers were selected, rewritten, and edited to construct the trenchant volume Issues Unresolved: New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education. The resulting book provocatively challenges the invested reader in four critical areas of deaf education worldwide. Part 1, Communication: Signed and Spoken Languages, addresses matters that range from considering critical periods for language acquisition, researched by Susan D. Fischer, to assessing the impact of immigration policies on the ethnic composition of Australia’s deaf community, intriguing work by Jan Branson and Don Miller. Part 2, Communication: Accessibility to Speech, continues the debate with works on the perception of speech by deaf and hard of hearing children, contributed by Arthur Boothroyd, and automatic speech recognition and its applications, delineated by Harry Levitt. Educational issues are brought to the forefront in Part 3 in such engrossing studies as Lea Lurie and Alex Kozulin’s discourse on the application of an instrumental-enrichment cognitive intervention program with deaf immigrant children from Ethiopia. Stephen Powers offers another perspective in this section with his retrospective evaluation of a distance education training course for teachers of the deaf. Part 4, Psychological and Social Adjustment reviews progress in this area, with Anne de Klerk’s exposition on the Rotterdam Deaf Awareness Program, and Corinne J. Lewkowitz and Lynn S. Liben’s research on the development of deaf and hearing children’s sex-role attitudes and self-endorsements. These and the many other contributions by renowned international scholars in the field make Issues Unresolved a compelling new standard for all involved in deaf education.

It's Not What You Sign, It's How You Sign It Cover

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It's Not What You Sign, It's How You Sign It

Politeness in American Sign Language

Jack Hoza

The general stereotype regarding interaction between American Sign Language and English is a model of oversimplification: ASL signers are direct and English speakers are indirect. Jack Hoza’s study It’s Not What You Sign, It’s How You Sign It: Politeness in American Sign Language upends this common impression through an in-depth comparison of the communication styles between these two language communities. Hoza investigates relevant social variables in specific contexts and explores the particular linguistic strategies ASL signers and English speakers employ when they interact in these contexts. It’s Not What You Sign, It’s How You Sign It is framed within politeness theory, an apt model to determine various interpretations of what speakers or signers mean in respect to the form of that which they say or sign. The variations reveal how linguistic and cultural differences intersect in ways that are often misinterpreted or overlooked in cross-c+AP23ultural communication. To clarify these cross-linguistic differences, this volume explores two primary types of politeness and the linguistic strategies used by English speakers and ASL signers to express politeness concerns in face-to-face interaction. Hoza’s final analysis leads to a better understanding of the rich complexity of the linguistic choices of these language groups.

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Language and the Law in Deaf Communities

Ceil Lucas, Editor

The ninth volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series focuses on forensic linguistics, a field created by noted linguist Roger Shuy, who begins the collection with an introduction of the issue of language problems experienced by minorities in legal settings. Attorney and linguist Rob Hoopes follows by showing how deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL) are at a distinct disadvantage in legal situations, such as police interrogations, where only the feeblest of efforts are made to ensure that deaf suspects understand their constitutional rights. Susan Mather, an associate professor of linguistics and interpretation, and Robert Mather, a federal disability rights attorney, examine the use of interpreters for deaf jurors during trials. They reveal the courts’ gross misunderstandings of the important differences between ASL and Signed English. Sara S. Geer, an attorney at the National Association of the Deaf for 20 years, explains how the difficulty in understanding legal terminology in federal law is compounded for deaf people in every ordinary act, including applying for credit cards and filling out medical consent forms. Language and the Law in Deaf Communities concludes with a chapter by George Castelle, Chief Public Defender in Charleston, West Virginia. Although he has no special knowledge about the legal problems of deaf people, Castelle offers another perspective based upon his extensive experience in practicing and teaching law.

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Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community

Joseph Christopher Hill

In a diverse signing community, it is not unusual to encounter a wide variety of expression in the types of signs used by different people. Perceptions of signing proficiency often vary within the community, however. Conventional wisdom intimates that those who learned at an early age at home or in school know true basic or standard American Sign Language. Those who learned ASL later in life or use contact or coded signs are considered to be less skillful Joseph Christopher Hill shows in Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community various contradictions in the use of signed languages. Hill’s new study explores the linguistic and social factors that govern such stereotypical perceptions of social groups about signing differences. Hill’s analysis focuses on affective, cognitive, and behavioral types of evaluative responses toward particular language varieties, such as ASL, contact signing, and Signed English. His work takes into account the perceptions of these signing types among the social groups of the American Deaf community that vary based on generation, age of acquisition, and race. He also gauges the effects of social information on these perceptions, and their evaluation and descriptions of signing that departs from their respective concept of a signing standard. Language Attitudes concludes that standard ASL’s value will continue to rise and the Deaf/Hearing cultural dichotomy will remain relevant without the occurrence of a dramatic cultural shift.

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Language in Hand

Why Sign Came Before Speech

William C. Stokoe

In Language in Hand: Why Sign Came Before Speech, William C. Stokoe begins his exploration of the origin of human language with a 2400-year-old quote by Democritus: “Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.” Stokoe capitalizes upon this simple credo in this far-ranging examination of the scholarly topography to support his formula for the development of language in humans: gesture-to-language-to-speech. Intrinsic to this is the proposition that speech is sufficient for language, but not necessary. Chance brought human ancestors down from the trees to the ground, freeing their hands for gesture, and then sign language, a progression that came from the necessity to communicate. Stokoe recounts in Language in Hand how inspiration grew out of his original discovery in the 1950s and ’60s that deaf people who signed were using a true language with constructions that did not derive from spoken English. This erudite, highly engaging investigation calls upon decades of personal experience and published research to refute the recently entrenched principles that humans have a special, innate learning faculty for language and that speech equates with language. Integrating current findings in linguistics, semiotics, and anthropology, Stokoe fashions a closely-reasoned argument that suggests how our human ancestors’ powers of observation and natural hand movements could have evolved into signed morphemes. Stokoe also proposes how the primarily gestural expression of language with vocal support shifted to primarily vocal language with gestural accompaniment. When describing this transition, however, he never loses sight of the significance of humans in the natural world and the role of environmental stimuli in the development of language. Stokoe illustrates this contention with fascinating observations of small, contemporary ethnic groups such as the Assiniboin Nakotas, a Native American group from Montana that intermingle their spoken and signed languages depending upon cultural imperatives. Language in Hand also presents innovative thoughts on classifiers in American Sign Language and their similarity to certain spoken languages, convincing evidence that speech originally copied sign language forms before developing unrelated conventions through usage. Stokoe concludes with a hypothesis on how the acceptance of sign language as the first language of humans could revolutionize the education of infants, both deaf and hearing, who, like early humans, have the full capacity for language without speech.

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Language in Motion

Exploring the Nature of Sign

Jerome D. Schein and David A. Stewart

This enjoyable book first introduces sign language and communication, follows with a history of sign languages in general, then delves into the structure of ASL. Later chapters outline the special skills of fingerspelling and assess the the academic offshoot of artificial sign systems and their value to young deaf children. Language in Motion offers for consideration the process required to learn sign language and putting sign language to work to communicate in the Deaf community. Appendices featuring the manual alphabets of three countries and a notation system developed to write signs complete this enriching book. Its delightful potpourri of entertaining, accessible knowledge makes it a perfect primer for those interested in learning more about sign language, Deaf culture, and Deaf communities.

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