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The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices

The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices

A comprehensive history of deafness, signed languages, and the unresolved struggles of the Deaf to be taught in their unspoken tongue

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ISBN 9780300215434
Barcode 9780300215434
Published 15 September 2017 by Yale University Press
Format Hardback
Author(s) By Shea, Gerald
Availability In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780300215434
ISBN-10 0300215436
Stock Available
Status In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days
Publisher Yale University Press
Imprint Yale University Press
Publication Date 15 September 2017
International Publication Date 22 August 2017
Publication Country United States United States
Format Hardback
Author(s) By Shea, Gerald
Category Historical & Comparative Linguistics
Sign Languages, Braille & Other Linguistic Communication
Social & Cultural History
Number of Pages 288
Dimensions Width: 140mm
Height: 210mm
Spine: 25mm
Weight 454g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Deaf - Means of communication - History, Deaf - Education - History, Sign language - History, Deaf - Education, Deaf - Means of communication
NBS Text Linguistics
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 305.908209
Catalogue Code 750374

Description of this Book

Partially deaf due to a childhood illness, Gerald Shea is no stranger to the search for communicative grace and clarity. In this eloquent and thoroughly researched book, he uncovers the centuries-long struggle of the Deaf to be taught in sign language-the only language that renders them complete, fully communicative human beings. Shea explores the history of the deeply biased attitudes toward the Deaf in Europe and America, which illogically forced them to be taught in a language they could neither hear nor speak. As even A.G. Bell, a fervent oralist, admitted, sign language is the quickest method of reaching the mind of a deaf child. Shea's research exposes a persistent but misguided determination among hearing educators to teach the Deaf orally, making the very faculty they lacked the principal instrument of their instruction. To forbid their education in sign language-the language of light -is to deny the Deaf their human rights, he concludes.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review A gracefully written, tightly reasoned indictment of those who would deprive the Deaf of their language. --Harlan Lane, author of When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf Shea's scholarship is excellent, and his sourcing of the book and the new material he found in his research is outstanding. It has much to offer, both in its exploration of known history and in its development of new material. It reads well and easily, not a small achievement. --Tom Humphries, author of Deaf in America and Inside Deaf Culture An invaluable social, intellectual and scientific history of the Deaf, and the emerging recognition of the linguistic nature of signed languages. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the troubled past of these issues and the history of the family of signed languages that includes ASL. --Stephen R. Anderson, Yale University
UK Review Bertrams Star Rating: 1 stars (out of 5)

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Author's Bio

Gerald Shea practiced corporate and international law for many years as a member of the New York and Paris bars. He is author of Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway Through Life, a prize-winning memoir of his life with partial deafness. He divides his time between Paris and the North Shore of Massachusetts.

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