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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Recombinant Features for the Movements of American Sign Language Add Dissertation
Author: Kathryn Hansen Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Linguistics Program
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology;
Subject Language(s): American Sign Language
Language Family(ies): Deaf Sign Language
Sign Language
Director(s): Ronnie Wilbur
Myrdene Anderson
Jackson Gandour
Nataliya Semchynska-Uhl

Abstract: Recombinant distinctive features are economical to phonological systems,
yet the movement portion of American Sign Language (ASL) has not yet been
analyzed with such features. Such an analysis would require movements to
be considered as contrastive segments or units along the syntagmatic axis,
in contradistinction to non-movement segments or units. Few models of ASL
phonology have conceptualized movements in this way. To broaden the
perspective of sign language phonology, this study analyzes the movements
of ASL with the procedures of the phonemic method, which allows
identification of contrastive segments along the syntagmatic axis.
Oppositions among these segments then show dimensions of contrast, which,
in turn, reveal the distinctive features.

This analysis shows the movement segments to contrast according to Type of
movement, which consists of the Arm and Bipartiteness dimensions;
Direction of Movement, resulting from the Compactness and Extension
dimensions; Shape; Contact; and Handedness, which refers to one versus two
hands moving. Features along these dimensions recombine to form the
various contrastive movements. Phonemic statements have been written for
the movement types, listing allophonic variations with their conditioning
environments. This feature system clarifies certain movement behaviors
that have, until now, been unaccounted for and is a step toward uniting
signed and spoken language phonologies.