Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language

Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language

by David F. Armstrong

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this groundbreaking book, anthropologist Armstrong (Gesture and the Nature of Language, Cambridge Univ., 1995), a professor at Gallaudet, brings his background in sign language to his work. He holds the conviction "that language has always been a `multichannel' phenomenon. This is to say that for most people, most of the time, linguistic communication involves visible as well as vocal signs." Taking a Darwinian perspective that the origin of abstract thought and language is "fundamentally undirected," Armstong proceeds to lead his reader through a rich array of information, including insights into the development of language from the perspective of linguistics, anthropology, biology, and philosophy. He focuses on the pioneering work of William C. Stokoe in the scientific study of signed language and suggests that manual gestures rather than vocalization may be the precursor of human language. Clearly written in a voice that is humane as well as scholarly, this book belongs in public as well as academic libraries.--Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L.
Arraying himself on the side of anthropology, where his training is, rather than formal linguistics Armstrong (management, Gallaudet U.) argues that sign language and speech developed together as the first languages. He draws from the signing of deaf people, the behavior of human's nearest living relatives and the anatomy of their ancestors, and the various linguistic theories currently in the field. Primarily he proposes that language is not a matter of translating thoughts into a linear string of arbitrary symbols, but a multi-channel activity that uses mostly auditory and visual senses. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Gallaudet University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.73(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews