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The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary Hardcover – July 31, 2010

83 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1563684449 ISBN-10: 1563684446 Edition: 2, w/DVD

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The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary + Learning American Sign Language: Levels I & II--Beginning & Intermediate (2nd Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This reference complements other American Sign Language (ASL) dictionaries by organizing signs by handshape rather than alphabetically by English word order. In so doing, it acts best as a recognition tool for the ASL learner, leading the user quickly to specific signs without having first to refer to an English-equivalent word. Multiple meanings of a single sign also allow deaf people to increase their English vocabulary. Like other ASL dictionaries, introductory material includes a brief synopsis of the history of sign language, the meaning and importance of the five parameters of a sign (handshape, orientation, location, movement, and nonmanual signals), grammatical rules, sign language variations (dialects), and finger-spelling principles. Tennant, a former mathematics instructor, and Gluszak Brown, a certified ASL interpreter, have provided a unique organization in their dictionary. But readers should note that a handshape is not a sign itself but rather a characteristic of a particular sign. Each individual sign presented in this dictionary is illustrated, paired with English-equivalent meaning(s), and described in terms of the five parameters, making it useful as a teaching reference as well as a recognition tool. A worthwhile complement to a public or academic library collection.?Andy Wickens, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The second edition is a handy reference. An accompanying DVD provides word lists with each sign demonstrated by models representing different ages and ethnicities. Recommended, lower-level undergraduates through graduate students, general readers, and professionals." (Choice)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press; 2, w/DVD edition (July 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563684446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563684449
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have quite a collection of ASL dictionaries, because I am deaf but didn't learn ASL until later in life. Now I am in science education, and I still need the dictionaries to write about the differences in ASL and English when translating science curricula. This is the best dictionary on the market today. The author used the format they use for most other dictionaries when going from English to that language and back. Only in ASLs case instead of written words as the phonemes or morphemes, you have handshapes. As the other reviewer stated, with this dictionary you can go from English to ASL, and deaf people can go from known handshapes to the most representative English word. Up til this point there was no dictionary for the Deaf to use to refer back to the English words. This is also the only format where you don't have to go hunting through the book for what you are looking for. Like all written mediums for dictionaries and ASL its only problem is its two dimensional presentation. However, the work they put into finally making a dictionary in the right way for ASL far outweighs the two dimensional concern. As an educator, this is the book I recommend and use for my classes and for my papers. Karen L. Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh, klsst23@pitt.edu
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book has a unique approach to learning sign language making it different from other books previously published. This is the first book that allows you to go from Spoken English to ASL and VICE VERSA!! Essential text for anyone who wants to learn to sign or to read the signs of others.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Natalie E. Williams on May 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Finally a book that allows you to search for signs based on their handshape. Many ASL students have difficulty understanding ASL users. This book gives them a better chance to look up signs to comprehend them instead of using looking up an English gloss to learn what THEY want to say! The only drawback? Not enough! This book should be expanded. I hope to see more signs included in the next edition. (There will be a next edition right?)
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "anni7373" on April 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has been my best resource in three years of sign language study. It is beautifully produced and compact, which makes it easy to carry as a ready reference. The vocabulary has been most satisfactory for the first three years of ASL courses and I expect it will continue to be my most valued resource for many reasons, a few of which are as follows: (1) The vast amount of material covered in the introduction reinforces the areas of grammar, fingerspelling and usage covered in class. (2) The system of ordering signs by handshape reinforces the fact that ASL is an independent language. (3) The variety of glosses that can be expressed with a single sign are together, unlike every other dictionary I have seen. This not only creates the desired compact format, but helps the student learn and appreciate the range of expression possible in ASL. (4) It is the only true two-way signing dictionary for this language, which makes it an essential adjunct to learning the language. It is clear, with my continued use, that the authors are teachers and know just what is needed to promote learning.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chloe Winfield on May 22, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD because I absolutely loved the (book) dictionary I purchased a month ago. The book has been extremely helpful. It completely describes the handshape(s) and palm orientation necessary to perform each sign correctly. I think that the DVD will be just as beneficial but I was disappointed because I thought I was buying a DVD that I could watch on my television set. This is actually a DVD-ROM that can only be used on a computer. (I am not tech savvy but I had my daughter check it out for me and she confirmed this.) I suppose this is something I should've expected since the DVD is somewhat interactive but I had simply imagined that there would be chapters on the menu page that I could navigate through to find the signs. The DVD itself is a little bit grainy but it is nice to see real people signing since the book only has drawings.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Emily on January 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Handshapes are crucial when learning asl. Forget the joy of signing book. This will get you much farther. It is modern and has more usuable signs than others. Well organized.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. L. Weiner on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good book. It separates vocabulary by the handshape instead of by alphabet. It is approved by the Deaf Studies Programme that I am involved in. There are many books on signing but most do not have ASL signs. This is a worthwhile purchase--there are flashcards available as well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BB on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pros: Nice, basic signs for the beginner, Deaf as well as Hearing. I believe there is a place for this book in all Beginners' ASL libraries. I especially appreciate the attention to 'non-manual signals.' Kudos to the authors/illustrator for a great attempt!

Cons: The illustrations could be improved a lot--especially important for beginners; some seem a bit ambiguous and difficult to understand. There are far too few signs to make this a very important reference book for anyone above beginner level.

Hopes: I hope this reference book is updated with clearer, more elegant artwork and a much expanded concept list.

Thanks: For a great attempt and best regards on improving this book. Hurry before someone else beats you to it; it would be nice if the same authors and illustrator were credited with presenting the first really-fine, new-and-improved handshape dictionary! :)
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