Significant Gestures: A History of American Sign Language

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $38.88
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 20%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $38.88   
  • New (4) from $40.89   
  • Used (5) from $0.00   


Tabak has created a fascinating exploration of a unique and uniquely beautiful North American language. The story begins in 18th century France in the first schools to use signed language as the language of instruction. Early in the 19th century a few individuals introduced a variant of this language into the United States and developed an educational system in which to use it. Out of these schools come members of a new American social class, the Deaf—with a capital D—who, united by a common signed language, create institutions through which they can participate in society on terms equal to those of other constituent groups. This strategy proved extremely controversial among all but the Deaf. The controversy lasted a century, during which time American Sign Language evolved along racial lines and in response to the pressures of those who sought to eliminate the use of American Sign Language.

Today, new ideas in art, science, and education have supplanted much of the old opposition to American Sign Language and Deaf culture. New legislation and new technologies have also had profound effects on the lives of American Deaf. As a consequence, American Sign Language is evolving faster than ever before.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For some time it seemed to be the beginning of a culture, a start on a language, but it was not until those who lived the culture and used the language gained recognition as self-reliant that both the Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL) were acknowledged as valid. Tabak, who has a personal and professional interest in ASL, describes the remarkable French cleric who taught an early form of sign language, then traces the forces of opposition, many of which insisted on oral speech rather than signing, and describes the growth of ASL into a recognized language. He also shows the side roads, including forays into race, and how modern concepts of modality started to work for ASL. He details the path of the deaf and blind within ASL and explains technologies that are (and are not) gaining ground in the Deaf and ASL communities."


Reference & Research Book News

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275989743
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,125,503
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN TABAK is a professional writer.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)