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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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Academic Paper

Title: Of the body and the hands: patterned iconicity for semantic categories
Author: So-One Hwang
Author: Nozomi Tomita
Author: Hope Morgan
Author: Rabia Ergin
Author: Deniz İlkbaşaran
Author: Sharon Seegers
Author: Ryan Lepic
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Chicago
Author: Carol Padden
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Subject Language: American Sign Language
German Sign Language
Israeli Sign Language
Japanese Sign Language
Kenyan Sign Language
Turkish Sign Language
Abstract: This paper examines how gesturers and signers use their bodies to express concepts such as instrumentality and humanness. Comparing across eight sign languages (American, Japanese, German, Israeli, and Kenyan Sign Languages, Ha Noi Sign Language of Vietnam, Central Taurus Sign Language of Turkey, and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language of Israel) and the gestures of American non-signers, we find recurring patterns for naming entities in three semantic categories (tools, animals, and fruits & vegetables). These recurring patterns are captured in a classification system that identifies iconic strategies based on how the body is used together with the hands. Across all groups, tools are named with manipulation forms, where the head and torso represent those of a human agent. Animals tend to be identified with personification forms, where the body serves as a map for a comparable non-human body. Fruits & vegetables tend to be identified with object forms, where the hands act independently from the rest of the body to represent static features of the referent. We argue that these iconic patterns are rooted in using the body for communication, and provide a basis for understanding how meaningful communication emerges quickly in gesture and persists in emergent and established sign languages.


This article appears IN Language and Cognition Vol. 9, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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