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Deaf around the WorldThe Impact of Language$
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Gaurav Mathur and Donna Jo Napoli

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.001.0001

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Sign Language Geography

Sign Language Geography

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 1 Sign Language Geography
Source:
Deaf around the World
Author(s):

Carol A. Padden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0001

There are multiple difficulties in knowing how many sign languages exist and in determining which are genetically related. This chapter compares the situation in North America with that of the Middle East. By looking at the rare remarks about sign languages from a hundred years ago and more, and the growth and dissemination of new sign languages (such as Nicaraguan Sign and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language), we begin to understand how sign languages interact and to what extent the notion “genetically related” is useful in discussing the relationships between them. Comparisons allow us to see how the pattern of sign language distribution is deeply linked to political, cultural and social factors that influence how signers have contact with one another.

Keywords:   sign language geography, North America, Middle East, sign language distribution, sign language linguistics, Nicaraguan Sign Language, Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language

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