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Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language:…

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's…

by Nora Ellen Groce

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The title of this book was misleading. I say that because it made me think that it was going to be a book full of anecdotal stories about deaf people on Martha's Vineyard and what life was like for them back in the "old days".

Instead, it was a very dry, scientific book full of data with just a few tiny anecdotal stories to illustrate the scientific points being discussed. It was really rather boring for me. It should have been given a more scientific name rather than one that makes you think you're going to read a bunch of personal stories.

Someone who has an interest in genetics and deafness may find this book interesting, though. ( )
  BohemianCyborg | Mar 31, 2013 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -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.… (more)

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