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Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's…
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067427041X, Paperback)
From the seventeenth century to the early years of the twentieth, the population of Martha's Vineyard manifested an extremely high rate of profound hereditary deafness. In stark contrast to the experience of most deaf people in our own society, the Vineyarders who were born deaf were so thoroughly integrated into the daily life of the community that they were not seen--and did not see themselves--as handicapped or as a group apart. Deaf people were included in all aspects of life, such as town politics, jobs, church affairs, and social life. How was this possible?
On the Vineyard, hearing and deaf islanders alike grew up speaking sign language. This unique sociolinguistic adaptation meant that the usual barriers to communication between the hearing and the deaf, which so isolate many deaf people today, did not exist.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:24 -0400)
A study of Martha's Vineyard Island in the early days of the twentieth century--focusing on the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark--which for over two hundred years had a high incidence of hereditary deafness; discussing the extraordinary degree to which deaf people were integrated into the community through the widespread use of sign language.
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