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Biographical Sketches of Bébian, Sicard, Massieu, and Clerc
In 1811, deaf student Ferdinand Berthier commenced his education at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris under its director Abbé Sicard and his teachers Auguste Bébian, Jean Massieu, and Laurent Clerc. Their tutelage eventually led Berthier to join the faculty at the Institute and become a life-long proponent of sign language and Deaf culture. Berthier earned fame for instituting the famous silent banquets in Paris in 1834. He also learned to advance his agenda by writing biographies of important figures who advocated sign over oralism to educate deaf French students. Forging Deaf Education in Nineteenth-Century France offers the first translation of Berthier’s biographical sketches of the four men above who influenced him most. Berthier wrote first about Bébian in 1839, timed to advocate sign language for teaching deaf students after the departure of the pro-oralism Institute Director Désiré Ordinaire. Berthier extolled Bébian’s linguistic acumen and his educational philosophy. In later sketches, however, he described Sicard and Massieu in positive terms but also criticized them for supporting “methodical” signing, which conformed to spoken language conventions. In contrast, he lauded Clerc in his portrayal for using “natural” signing to teach deaf students. The incisiveness of Freeman G. Henry’s introduction and the clarity of his translations will enthrall readers now able to read Berthier’s biographies in English for the first time.
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.
As a young, deaf Jewish woman living in a small town in Michigan in 1942, Sandra Horowitz felt deeply frustrated by her limited prospects. Even though she had just graduated from junior college, she knew that she had two strikes against her in fulfilling her dream to become a veterinarian. Better to marry Jacob Winter, her parents urged her, a deaf Jewish man who made a good living. Then, Sandra met Rudy Townsend, a hearing soldier on leave before he shipped out to the war in Europe. In just four days, both Sandra and Rudy’s worlds were turned upside down. Sandra’s parents feared him for being hearing and a Gentile, while Rudy’s parents expressed openly their bias against her ethnic background and her deafness. Even so, Sandra and Rudy soon realized that they had fallen in love, deeply and passionately. As they shared the brief time they had together, they learned about each other’s dreams for the future — Sandra’s desire to be a vet and Rudy’s determination to serve in Congress. Then, Rudy had to leave for the war. Philip Zazove’s novel Four Days in Michigan captures perfectly the power of irrepressible love between two individuals from opposite backgrounds. The struggles they encounter in an era when such differences were never more sharply drawn also reveal great detail about deaf and hearing life. Despite all, their triumph comes ultimately because of their long-lasting individual respect and love.
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.
In 21 essays on communicative gesturing in the first two years of life, this vital collection demonstrates the importance of gesture in a child’s transition to a linguistic system. Introductions preceding each section emphasize the parallels between the findings in these studies and the general body of scholarship devoted to the process of spoken language acquisition. Renowned scholars contributing to this volume include Ursula Bellugi, Judy Snitzer Reilly, Susan Goldwin-Meadow, Andrew Lock, M. Chiara Levorato, and many others.
A History of Special Education in the 20th Century
Since Margret A. Winzer wrote her landmark work The History of Special Education, much has transpired in this field, which she again has captured in a remarkable display of scholarship. Winzer’s new study From Integration to Inclusion: A History of Special Education in the 20th Century focuses chiefly on the significant events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States and Canada. Its key dynamics consist of a retrospective overview of the paradigms that emerged from and shaped special education; a critical assessment of past progress and reform, including failures and disappointments; and an analysis of the theoretical diversity within the discipline. In this stand-alone volume, Winzer juxtaposes the historical study of disability and of special schooling and service provision with reference to broader social systems, protocols, and practices. She documents how prevailing emotional and intellectual climates influence disability and schooling, and also takes into account the social, political, and ideological factors that affect educational theory and practice. Winzer recognizes that reform has been the Zeitgeist of the history of special education. Crucial problems such as defining exceptional conditions and separating them from one another were formulated in contexts organized along moral, theological, legislative, medical, and social dimensions. Many of these reforms failed for various reasons, which Winzer thoroughly explains in her study. Most of these reforms evolved from the long and honorable pedigree that the field of special education has possessed since its earliest antecedents, now admirably brought up to date by this outstanding work.
Growing Up Deaf in the Old South
The antebellum South’s economic dependence on slavery engendered a rigid social order in which a small number of privileged white men dominated African Americans, poor whites, women, and many people with disabilities. From Pity to Pride examines the experiences of a group of wealthy young men raised in the old South who also would have ruled over this closely regimented world had they not been deaf. Instead, the promise of status was gone, replaced by pity, as described by one deaf scion, “I sometimes fancy some people to treat me as they would a child to whom they were kind.” In this unique and fascinating history, Hannah Joyner depicts in striking detail the circumstances of these so-called victims of a terrible “misfortune.” Joyner makes clear that Deaf people in the North also endured prejudice. She also explains how the cultural rhetoric of paternalism and dependency in the South codified a stringent system of oppression and hierarchy that left little room for self-determination for Deaf southerners. From Pity to Pride reveals how some of these elite Deaf people rejected their family’s and society’s belief that being deaf was a permanent liability. Rather, they viewed themselves as competent and complete. As they came to adulthood, they joined together with other Deaf Americans, both southern and northern, to form communities of understanding, self-worth, and independence.
New Research on Interpretation
This new collection examines several facets of signed language interpreting. Claudia Angelelli’s study confirms that conference, courtroom, and medical interpretation can no longer be seen as a two-party conversation with an “invisible” interpreter, but as a three-party conversation in which the interpreter plays an active role. Laura M. Sanheim defines different turn-taking elements in a medical setting as two overlapping conversations, one between the patient and the interpreter and the other between the interpreter and the medical professional. In her analysis of discourse at a Deaf revival service, Mary Ann Richey demonstrates how Deaf presenters and audiences interact even in formal settings, creating special challenges for interpreters. Jemina Napier shares her findings on the nature and occurrence of omissions by interpreters in Australian Sign Language and English exchanges. Elizabeth Winston and Christine Monikowski describe different strategies used by interpreters to indicate topic shifts when interpreting into American Sign Language and when transliterating. The study concludes with Bruce Sofinski’s analysis of nonmanual elements used by interpreters in sign language transliteration.
A Portrait of the Deaf Community 1917
In 1917, Henri Gaillard led a delegation of deaf French men to the United States for the centennial celebration of the American School for the Deaf (ASD). The oldest school for deaf students in America, ASD had been cofounded by renowned deaf French teacher Laurent Clerc, thus inspiring Gaillard’s invitation. Gaillard visited deaf people everywhere he went and recorded his impressions in a detailed journal. His essays present a sharply focused portrait of the many facets of Deaf America during a pivotal year in its history.
Drawn from the Genetics, Disability and Deafness Conference at Gallaudet University in 2003, this trenchant volume brings together 13 essays from science, history, and the humanities, history and the present, to show the many ways that disability, deafness, and the new genetics interact and what that interaction means for society. Pulitzer-prize-winning author Louis Menand begins this volume by expressing the position shared by most authors in this wide-ranging forum—the belief in the value of human diversity and skepticism of actions that could eliminate it through modification of the human genome. Nora Groce creates an interpretive framework for discussing the relationship between culture and disability. From the historical perspective, Brian H. Greenwald comments upon the real “toll” taken by A. G. Bell’s insistence upon oralism, and Joseph J. Murray recounts the 19th century debate over whether deaf-deaf marriages should be encouraged. John S. Schuchman’s chilling account of deafness and eugenics in the Nazi era adds wrenching reinforcement to the impetus to include disabled people in genetics debates. Mark Willis illustrates the complexity of genetic alterations through his reaction to his own genetic makeup, in that he is happy to combat his heart disease with genetic tools but refuses to participate in studies about his blindness, which he considers a rich variation in human experience. Anna Middleton describes widely reported examples of couples attempting to use genetic knowledge and technology both to select for and against a gene that causes deafness. Chapters by Orit Dagan, Karen B. Avraham, Kathleen S. Arnos, and Arti Pandya elucidate the promise of current research to clarify the complexity and choices presented by breakthroughs in genetic engineering. In his essay on the epidemiology of inherited deafness, geneticist Walter E. Nance emphasizes the importance of science in offering individuals knowledge from which they can fashion their own decisions. Christopher Krentz reviews past and contemporary fictional accounts of human alteration that raise moral questions about the ever-continuing search for human perfection. Michael Bérubé concludes this extraordinary collection with his forceful argument that disability should be considered democratically in this era of new genetics to ensure the full participation of disabled people themselves in all decisions that might affect them.