Methods for Studying Sign Languages

Ceil Lucas

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199744084
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Methods for Studying Sign Languages

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This chapter begins by sharing an anecdote involving recruiting members of the Houston black Deaf community for a project on Black ASL to participate in the filming. The anecdote serves as an example of the kinds of methodological issues that can arise when collecting sociolinguistic data in Deaf communities. Many of these issues are of course not unique to Deaf communities—researchers who work in spoken-language communities encounter many of the same issues. The chapter discusses methods for the sociolinguistic studies in sign language communities. It includes four main topics: data collection, defining variables and constraints, data reduction, and dissemination of the findings.

Keywords: deaf communities; spoken-language communities; sign language communities; data reduction; data collection; Black ASL; sociolinguistic data

Article.  8658 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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