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Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples   By: (1831-1894)

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In "Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples" by Garrick Mallery, the author delves into the fascinating world of sign language, specifically focusing on its usage among North American Indians. As a prominent ethnographer and linguist, Mallery provides a comprehensive study that compares sign language usage across various indigenous societies and even touches on its comparison with other cultures worldwide.

One aspect that sets this book apart is Mallery's meticulous attention to detail when documenting the sign language systems of different indigenous groups. He extensively describes their hand gestures, facial expressions, body movements, and the cultural contexts surrounding their communication methods. By doing so, he sheds light on the rich linguistic systems that existed within these communities, highlighting their complexity and cultural significance.

Throughout the book, Mallery also delves into the historical, social, and cultural factors that shaped the development and usage of sign language among North American Indians. He explores how sign languages were influenced by factors such as geographical location, exposure to other cultures, and the impact of colonization.

What makes this book particularly valuable is its comparative approach. Mallery goes beyond analyzing sign language solely within the North American Indian context and provides a broader perspective by contrasting it with sign languages used in other parts of the world. This allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of the universal aspects of sign language while appreciating the unique features of the North American Indian signing systems.

Furthermore, Mallery's writing style is both engaging and accessible. Despite the academic nature of the subject, he presents his research in a clear and comprehensible manner, making it accessible to both scholars and general readers alike. Additionally, the inclusion of various illustrations, diagrams, and archival photographs further enhances the book's overall appeal and contributes to a better understanding of the topic.

However, it is important to note that this book was first published in 1881, and some of the perspectives and terminology used throughout may no longer align with modern sensibilities. Readers should approach it with a critical lens, taking into account the historical context in which it was written.

Overall, "Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples" by Garrick Mallery is a significant contribution to the field of linguistics and ethnography. It offers a comprehensive examination of sign language usage among North American Indians while drawing insightful comparisons to other cultures worldwide. With its rich content, engaging writing style, and valuable illustrations, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities and diversity of human communication.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note: The following notation is used for special phonetic characters: [.h] = "h" with superior dot ['s] = "s" with acute accent [k], [t] = inverted "k", "t" [n] = superscript "n" [=e], [=n] = "e", "n" with superior macron [)e], [)i] = "e", "i" with superior breve The verses in the section on GESTURES OF ACTORS are loosely quoted from "The Rosciad" by Charles Churchill, which more accurately reads: "When to enforce some very tender part, The right hand slips by instinct on the heart, His soul, of every other thought bereft, Is anxious only where to place the left;"









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