- Paperback: 274 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521690307
- ISBN-13: 978-0521690300
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,180,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hand Talk: Sign Language among American Indian Nations
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'With its very comprehensive account of the study and structure of Plains Indian Sign Language, with the valuable links that it provides to sign languages used by deaf people and with its accompanying website, this volume is a wonderful and timely resource.' Ceil Lucas, Gallaudet University
'This is not just another book! It is a riveting narrative of an endangered Native American sign language that has served an essential role in Native American culture and life. For sign language studies, Native American studies, linguistics, anthropology, and a host of other allied professionals, as well as for the American public, Jeff Davis has made a momentous professional and social contribution. This is a landmark work that deserves the widest professional and popular audience.' Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University
Describes a unique case of sign language that served as an international language among numerous Native American nations not sharing a common spoken language. The book contains the most current descriptions of all levels of the language from phonology to discourse, as well as comparisons with other sign languages.
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It is NOT a book to teach anybody American Indian sign language. It IS a volume that is an academic treatise. So if you're looking for a functional book to help teach you sign language, this isn't it.
That might not come as a surprise. First, the book is published by Cambridge University Press. Secondly, in the author's preface in the very first paragraph the author states "This book follows anthropological and historical linguistic approaches to the study of indigenous sign language used and transmitted from one generation to the next -- particularly among North American Indians." That's an apt description of what follows in the next 200+ pages. As expected in an academic publication, the author well documents his source material.
As to my 2-star rating, I did not "enjoy" this book per se. There's a huge difference between learning a language and studying a language. (I can handle myself in at least two other languages, and while learning them I of course learned/studied their grammars, vocabularies, and cultures). But "enjoying" this book depends upon what you're looking for; if academic analysis, style and verbiage is your pleasure, you've hit paydirt. If wanting to learn sign to use, this is not for you.