Grammar, Gesture, and Meaning in American Sign Language / Edition 1

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This book focuses on American Sign Language to examine the grammatical and conceptual significance of these signs. It guides the reader through the various types of directional signs, the types of spatial representations signs are directed toward, how such spatial conceptions can be represented in mental space theory, and the conceptual purposes served by these signs. The book explains how the pointing behavior of signs accomplishes functions that must be accomplished by any language, spoken or signed. It demonstrates a remarkable integration of grammar and gesture in the service of constructing meaning. These results also suggest that our concept of "language" has been much too narrow and that a more comprehensive look at vocally produced languages will reveal the same integration of gestural, gradient, and symbolic elements.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Liddell's "...non-polemical and carefully reasoned argumentation is a welcome relief in an overheated field...The lucidity of presentation and the cogency of the new analyses lead the reader into exploring rich new territory, rather than into quarrels about assessments of established domains. In the end, I expect that readers of various theoretical persuasions will have a number of "aha experiences" as they slowly come to understand and appreciate [Liddell's] re-mapping of the territory. This is a major contribution to sign language linguistics, and to linguistics generally."
Dan I. Slobin, University of California, Berkeley, Language
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521016506
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott K. Liddell is Professor of Linguistics and Program Coordinator for the Linguistics Program at Gallaudet University, Washington DC. His publications include American Sign Language Syntax (1980), and he is also the author of nearly 40 articles and chapters relating to sign language grammar and the use of sign language in educating deaf students.

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Table of Contents

1 American Sign Language as a language 1
2 A sketch of the grammar of ASL 6
3 Pronouns and real space 66
4 Indicating verbs and real space 97
5 Surrogates 141
6 Directing signs at locations and things 176
7 Tokens 190
8 Buoys 223
9 Depicting verbs 261
10 Five brothers 317
11 Grammar, gesture, and meaning 355
Appendixes 363
References 368
General index 377
Index of illustrated signs 380
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