This book provides a study of the communication and culture of deaf people, particularly among a community of the deaf in Britain. The authors' goal is to inform educators, psychologists, linguists, and professionals working with deaf people about the rich language the deaf have developed for themselves--a language of movement and space, of the hands and the eyes, of abstract communication as well as iconic story-telling. Early chapters discuss the history of sign language use, its social aspects and the issues surrounding the language acquisition of deaf children. The book's core examines the linguistic and psychological study of British Sign Language and compares and contrasts it with other signed languages. The book concludes with an examination of the applications of sign language research, particularly to education.
'There is a deplorable lack of books which relate the language questions of hearing-impairment to sound linguistic study in the wider field of general language development. However, [in Sign Language] we have such a book which is to be commended for its rooting in linguistic theory, linguistic writings and linguistic research ... Its recognition that this field can only be properly tackled on an international basis is one that will profit the reader and increase the outlook of serious students. Similarly the book should encourage further examination of minority languages and minority language learning together with mother-tongue language studies, both fertile fields of modern educators of deaf children ... This is a book to buy. Overlooking, or neglecting it, would be to fail to recognise its general excellence.' Journal of the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf