Random House American Sign Language Dictionary

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9780394585802: Random House American Sign Language Dictionary
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This dictionary represents the cutting edge in reference for American Sign Language, with a treasury of signs for the novice and experienced user alike.

Its many features include:
over 4,500 signs
complete descriptions of each sign, plus full-torso illustrations separate sections on geographical signs
how numbers are signed in different contexts and the role of finger spelling
a subject index

This dictionary is the only one that makes it easy for you to match the right signs with the right meanings by giving you:
alternate signs for the same meaning, plus different signs for different meanings of the same word
complete definitions that show you which meanings go with which signs  over 3,000 cross references to the illustrated signs

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From Booklist:

This compendium of more than 5,600 words and signs is a valuable resource for users of American Sign Language (ASL) and those who are attempting to learn it. The author is director of the Gallaudet University Press.

The dictionary begins with a detailed introduction to ASL, including information about its primary users. The point is made that the deaf community sees itself as a cultural group with a common language. ASL is the first language of 300,000 to 500,000 people. The introduction contains information about the origins and use of ASL and its structure, including phonology (the parts of a sign) and morphology (meaning). The functions of space, classifiers, and nonmanual cues are discussed. Also covered are fingerspelling, signing numbers, abstract symbols, and changes in ASL through the years.

The main part of the book contains the dictionary entries. Each entry (word or phrase) has a definition, since different meanings of the same English words may be represented by entirely different signs in ASL, followed by an example sentence. Related forms, cross-references, and "same sign used for" information are also given. Each entry includes a drawing of a person making the sign along with written instructions on how to form it. The visual representation includes the head, hands, and torso of the figure. This is particularly useful given the importance of space in ASL. These drawings are varied as to gender, race, and age. Included in the dictionary are common slang words and expressions and new words, such as microwave and computer terms. Attention is also given to words and phrases that could be considered offensive, and suggestions are offered regarding the use of alternative signs.

American Sign Language: A Comprehensive Dictionary (Harper, 1981) has been the standard source in libraries. It gives pronunciation for some words but has briefer definitions and no example sentences. It contains some insensitive and/or racist signs; a new edition will be published by HarperCollins in October.

The Random House American Sign Language Dictionary belongs in academic and public libraries. High-school libraries will also find it useful.

From Library Journal:

Costello, the director and editor in chief of Gaullaudet University Press, has compiled over 5000 signs in this massive dictionary. Each sign is illustrated with a full-torso picture showing hand configuration and movement, and both the common and alternate meanings are given where necessary. Arranged like a typical dictionary, this work is easy to use and very detailed. Even the end sheets provide ready reference to the manual alphabet and more common handshapes. Sign language, now the fourth most commonly used language, has changed in response to a more enlightened time, and these changes are evident here. Not only have the signs for homosexual, China, and Japan been updated, for instance, but new words reflecting the computer age, such as disk and byte, have been included. Of immense value to the nonhearing and the hearing alike; highly recommended for all libraries.
Neal Wyatt, Mary Washington Coll. Lib., Fredricksburg, Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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