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Languaging in and across Communities: New Voices, New Identities

Studies in Honour of Giuseppina Cortese


Edited By Sandra Campagna, Elana Ochse, Virginia Pulcini and Martin Solly

The title of this volume intentionally echoes that of a landmark issue of Textus on «Languaging» in and across Human Groups, edited by Giuseppina Cortese and Dell Hymes in 2001, since the notion of ‘languaging’ seems to capture most effectively the essence and the continuity in the life and work of Giuseppina Cortese, to whom the book is dedicated. It brings together contributions by a number of distinguished scholars that shed new light on current developments in this dynamic area of discourse analysis, especially taking into account recent research and emerging insights on speech communities and communities of practice.
The sections in the volume are designed as main threads of a new investigation into ‘languaging’. The first, entitled Languaging Awareness, deals with recent findings in applied linguistics, exploring key topics in language acquisition, language learning and teaching and the changing role of the media. The second section, Languaging Identity, prioritizes the theme of the construction of identity in text and talk within a linguistic and languaging framework. The third section, Languaging Community, explores the notion of community, of the lifeworld and the textworld emanating from a variety of domains, closely inspecting contemporary events and showing, on a continuum with Cortese’s approach, how memory of the past gives depth of meaning to a discourse analysis that is geared to linguistic and textual awareness.
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Sign Language: The State of the Art in Italian Universities Fourteen Years On


1.   Introduction

Historically worldwide, standard spoken/written national languages based on a common set of rules developed in most countries and were assimilated and spread through education and more recently the mass media. This did not hold true for sign languages (SL). SL was banned in educational institutions from 1880 throughout Europe1 until the mid-twentieth century. It developed in closed, almost clandestine, pockets retaining significant cultural and linguistic differences which still abound in most European Deaf communities today (Kellett Bidoli 2001: 135). The result has been the development of numerous signed languages or dialects. In Italy, CNR2 researchers based in Rome began analysing the language of the Roman Deaf community in the early eighties and gathered signs recognisable in other parts of the country to form a corpus known as LIS (Lingua dei Segni Italiana – Italian Sign Language; see Volterra 1981, 1987). LIS is the signed version now most frequently seen on Italian television, used in dictionaries of Italian Sign Language (e.g. Angelini et al. 1991; Radutsky 1992) and adopted at national conferences by SL interpreters. It has belatedly developed into an accepted standard form that helps to solve miscomprehension among deaf individuals who live in communities throughout the peninsula where numerous dissimilar signed varieties have come into existence. ← 475 | 476 →

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