Current Events in Deaf World: Deaf Languages & Cultures Around the Globe



Deaf Studies, Linguistics


This is a three-unit upper-division course taught in an American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Bachelor-level program. It is taught entirely in ASL. Students in this course are generally in their final or penultimate semester of course work.

Author Biography

Leah C Geer, California State University, Sacramento

I am an Assistant Professor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at California State University, Sacramento. I received a PhD in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I attended New Mexico State University where I majored in Kinesiology. After becoming increasingly interested in motor learning and development, I attended Gallaudet University for a Master's degree in Linguistics, allowing for a fusion of interests in motor skill acquisition combined with signed language acquisition. My current interests lie in adult acquisition of phonetics & phonology in ASL. My dissertation explores factors which contribute to successful comprehension of fingerspelling in ASL students, what causes errors in their comprehension, and how to help them improve their receptive skills.


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Fenlon, J., Cooperrider, K., Keane, J., Brentari, D., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2019). Comparing sign language and gesture: Insights from pointing. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 4(1), pp. 1-26. DOI:

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Johnston, T. (2006). W(h)ither the Deaf community? Population, genetics, and the future of Australian Sign Language. Sign Language Studies, 6(2), 137-173.

Lepic, R., & Occhino, C. (2018). A construction morphology approach to sign language analysis. In G. Booij (Ed.) The construction of words (pp. 141-172). Springer.

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Schermer, T., and Phau, R. (2016). Language contact and change. In A Baker, B. van den Bogaerde, R. Pfau & T. Schermer (Eds.) The Linguistics of Sign Languages: An Introduction, pp. 299-234. John Benjamins. DOI:

Senghas, A., & Coppola, M. (2001). Children creating language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language acquired a spatial grammar. Psychological science, 12(4), 323-328.

Sivunen, N. (2019). An Ethnographic study of deaf refugees seeking asylum in Finland. Societies, 9(1), 2.

Whynot, L. (2016). Understanding international sign: A sociolinguistic study. Gallaudet University Press.