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The Indian Sign Language [Paperback]

W. P. Clark

Price: 13.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Hardcover 26.05  
Paperback 12.27  
Paperback, 1 April 1982 13.99  

Book Description

1 April 1982
In 1876 and 1877, Captain W. P. Clark commanded a detachment of Indian scouts-including Pawnees, Shoshones, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Crows, and Sioux-who conversed in sign language. They made requests, relayed information, and told stories with their hands, communicating in a language indispensable for quick understanding between Indians of different tribes. The scouts patiently taught Clark the sign system, which he patiently recorded in this book. Originally written in 1884 for use by the United States Army, The Indian Sign Language is far more than a grammar book or curiosity. Clark worked closely with the Indians who taught him the language, and his respect for them and their way of thinking informs every page. Written for future officers in Indian regions, The Indian Sign Language corrects the sentimental and brutal stereotypes of Indians that led to much misunderstanding. Clark believed that sign language could assist him "to think like the Indians," which he considered essential for a conscientious officer. His book discusses reliably and soberly the facts of plains Indian life as he encountered them in the 1870s and 1880s. Now a classic, The Indian Sign Language is a monument to the desire for understanding between radically different peoples.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was written by someone who was there. 7 Feb 2001
By Paul T. Casucci - Published on Amazon.com
One language connected all tribes of Americans not long ago. This book is filled with translations from English to Native American Sign Language as well the historical facts related to the period that this book was written. Even tribal accents are noted as certain tribes expressed the same words using their own habitual pronunciations in sign. This book not only clearly explains the language but paints a picture alphabetically of the subjects, abstract and tangible, that Native Americans talked about in 1877.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a "dictionary" 27 Sep 2009
By Daniele Colombo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the book since I read about it in "Wooden Leg" biography. The old Cheyenne describes the author as a very knowledgeable "sign speaker". Actually the book is much more than a dictionary since the author has collected a huge number of stories and information about different indian tribes. Definitely a precious information source on the life of American indians as seen from a white soldier who spent lots of time with them during the last years of their freedom.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an adventure in misprint media 6 May 2010
By Frank Juszczyk, Ph.D. "Dr. J" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The content of the book is valuable and presumably accurate as it was first published in 1885. The hand signs themselves are described verbally rather than demonstrated visually (no illustrations). This can be disappointing to some readers. The concepts/words/phrases are entered alphabetically, but interspersed with long disquisitions on American Indian history, culture, and anecdotes. This makes locating a specific sign somewhat challenging. Worse, the book seems to have escaped any editing whatsoever. Typographical errors abound, and the index is absolutely worthless as page references are wildly inaccurate. The author, William Philo Clark, was a Captain in the Second Cavalry. His compilation of sign language was commissioned by Lieutenant General P. H. Sheridan. Clark's experience and interaction with a wide variety of tribes gives his compilation great authority. Using the book is troublesome and frustrating, but it is a major source for the common sign language of the time, and its accounts of life among the American Indians of the Great Plains and the Southwest is absorbing.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High on text, 0 on illustrations. 1 Nov 2012
By Ron L - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was very informative textually but did not have any illustrations to actually show the motions of sign language.
The other book that I purchased, Indian Sign Language by Tomkins, was much better insofar as illustrations and as a bonus for me had a very nice section on pictographs and ideographs which is what I am most interested in.
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