LDL 252 Northern Plains Sign Language

  • Course description

    This course is an intensive practical introduction to Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL) and explores how it was a primary mean of intertribal and trade communication between the Lakota, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, and Crow prior to the arrival of Europeans and the rise of the use of English. The course will also explore how the use of hand gestures can be a major component and compliment to the speaking of Lakota and help the language be more visually expressive. Students will learn about PISL phonology: the location of the hand, its movement, shape, and orientation; they will learn basic signs and will be able to communicate basic concepts and begin to use it actively during their speaking of Lakota.

    Course objectives

    To introduce teachers in the Plains Indian Sign Language , encourage its effective use in classrooms as a language teaching aid, and help children begin to incorporate into their understanding of the spoken language.

    Course textbooks

    • Tomkins, William. Indian sign language. [Republication of “Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America” 5th ed. 1931]. New York : Dover Publications 1969.
    • Davis, Jeffrey E. Hand Talk: Sign Language among American Indian Nations Cambridge University Press 2010.
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