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The Whole World in a BookDictionaries in the Nineteenth Century$
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Sarah Ogilvie and Gabriella Safran

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190913199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190913199.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 January 2022

Dictionaries of Libras from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century

Dictionaries of Libras from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century

Historical Continuities and Persistent Challenges

(p.298) 16 Dictionaries of Libras from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century
The Whole World in a Book

Jorge Bidarra

Tania Aparecida Martins

Oxford University Press

Sign languages, structurally different from oral languages, are based on gestures and involve their own grammars and repertoires of lexical units (signals or signs), and they play an important role in establishing communication among deaf people around the world. This chapter primarily focuses on the development of dictionaries for Libras (an acronym for Língua Brasileira de Sinais, or ‘Brazilian Language of Signs’), the natural language of the Brazilian deaf community. It traces the influence of the first dictionary of the deaf in Brazil, Iconographia dos Signaes dos Surdos-Mudos (‘Iconography of Signs of Deaf-Mutes’), which was published in 1875 by the National Institute of Education of the Deaf (INES) and authored by Flausino José da Gama, a student at the Institute. In their demonstration of the influence and inspiration this dictionary gave to lexicographers who followed da Gama, Bidarra and Martins outline the historical trajectory of sign languages up to the present, considering different and parallel paths for sign languages in different countries, forms of stigmatization of sign language, and barriers to its use. Incorporating this historical and transnational analysis, Bidarra and Martins present both a broad discussion of the various models of sign language dictionaries that have been used around the world and an in-depth analysis of the development of Libras dictionaries in Brazil to the modern day.

Keywords:   Brazilian Language of Signs, sign language, Libras, deaf, signs, iconography

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