LINGUIST List 7.509

Fri Apr 5 1996

Sum: ASL in the African-Amer. Community

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Margaret J Speas, ASL in the African-Amer. Community: sum

Message 1: ASL in the African-Amer. Community: sum

Date: Wed, 03 Apr 1996 15:54:16 EST
From: Margaret J Speas <>
Subject: ASL in the African-Amer. Community: sum

Thanks to all who responded to my query about research on Sign
Language in the African American Community:

Judy Kegl
Madeline Maxwell
Cindy Neuroth-Gimbrone
Leonore I. Rodrigues
Claudia M. Pagliaro
Greg Leatherman Sommers
Svandis Svavarsdottir

Many people mentioned an article by Anthony Aramburo:

Aramburo, Anthony J. (1989). Sociolinguistic Aspects of the Black
Deaf Community. In C.Lucas (Ed.) The Sociolinguistics of the deaf
community. 103-122. Academic Press: New York.

This article apparently is also reprinted in:
 Sign Language: An Introduction, by Clayton Valli and Ceil Lucas
(1992, Gallaudet University Press, 1995 ed.).

Madeline Maxwell informed me about a study that she did with Sybil
 "Black sign language and school integration in Texas"
 Madeline M. Maxwell & Sybil Smith-Todd, Language in Society 15,
81-94, 1986.

In this study, they looked at some lexical signs in Texas and
interviewed both older Black Texans who were Deaf and those who were
Hearing and had taught Black Deaf kids before and after integration of
the schools (which was quite late). They found that the youngsters at
the school for the deaf today didn't know any of the older Black
Signs. In fact, they didn't know any older Black Deaf Texans except
for a few people who worked at the school for the deaf. They found
that the discontinuity between the adult community and the kids that
is common was almost total for Black kids.

Several people suggested getting in touch with the national
organization Black Deaf Advocates, which has 22 chapters across the
country. Journals which were suggested to me were Sign Language
Studies, the American Annals of the Deaf, the Journal of Speech and
Hearing Research, as well as publications from the National
Association of the Deaf in Silver Spring, MD, the Center on Assessment
and Demographic Studies at Gallaudet, National information Center on
Deafness also at Gallaudet.

Certainly one of the most important resources on this topic would be
Gallaudet College. One correspondent gave me their phone number

Peggy Speas
Dept. of Linguistics
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
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