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[Xmca-l] Primitive or Ideal?
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- Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:32:38 +1100
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In the light of recent discussion about the role of the ideal in the
development of language, and the notion of "primitive man," this old
primitive thought it might be a good idea to read up on the case of
Nicaraguan Sign Language. So, I've bought this book off Amazon. Does
anyone know of criticisms of this author?
The Emergence of Deaf Community in Nicaragua: "With Sign Language You
Can Learn So Much" by Laura Pollich
The sudden discovery of Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL) enthralled
scholars worldwide who hoped to witness the evolution of a new language.
But controversy erupted regarding the validity of NSL as a genuinely
spontaneous language created by young children. Laura Polich's
fascinating book recounts her nine-year study of the Deaf community in
Nicaragua and her findings about its formation and that of NSL in its
wake. Polich crafted "The Emergence of the Deaf Community in Nicaragua"
from her copious research in Nicaragua's National Archives, field
observations of deaf pupils in 20 special education schools, polls of
the teachers for deaf children about their education and knowledge of
deafness, a survey of 225 deaf individuals about their backgrounds and
living conditions, and interviews with the oldest members of the
National Nicaraguan Association of the Deaf. Polich found that the use
of a "standardized" sign language in Nicaragua did not emerge until
there was a community of users meeting on a regular basis, especially
beyond childhood. The adoption of NSL did not happen suddenly, but took
many years and was fed by multiple influences. She also discovered the
process that deaf adolescents used to attain their social agency, which
gained them recognition by the larger Nicaraguan hearing society. Her
book illustrates tremendous changes during the past 60 years, and the
truth in one deaf Nicaraguan's declaration, "With sign language you can
learn so much."