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Signs of the time. Selected Papers from TISLR 8

This collection of articles is a selection of some of the papers that were presented at the conference Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 8 (TISLR 8), which took place at the University of Barcelona between September 30th and October 2nd, 2004. TISLR is the most important international conference on sign language research and it constitutes a good overview of the current state of the field. First, because of the high standards held for the selection of papers, and second, because despite the linguistic focus, it incorporates work on sign in related fields such as neurolinguistics or psycholinguistics.

The thematic blocks of the book deal with phonetics and phonology of sign, topics related to intonation, different aspects of morphology, syntax, semantics of sign languages, different aspects of sign language acquisition and two chapters are devoted to the analysis of what is commonly referred to as role shift. The volume ends with a chapter devoted to a topic in applied linguistics: lexicography. For several articles video-examples are provided on the accompanying CD-ROM. This is just a relatively small portion of all the papers presented at TISLR 8, but it gives a representative sample of the research carried out in the field of sign linguistics. A field with an open horizon ahead!

It was the second time that TISLR was organized outside North America and it attracted a very significant number of participants from all over the globe (almost 380). The book offers a representative sample of all those selected papers and it includes two of the invited lectures. All the articles submitted for this volume went through a specific anonymous peer reviewing procedure and the result of that is the collection presented here. The whole allows us to get a fair impression of a field that keeps expanding and becoming more and more prominent within linguistic research in general. As the reader will notice immediately after a quick look at the table of contents, the range of topics addressed in the individual contributions is very broad and the number of sign languages studied too - the crosslinguistic slant is recurrent in many of the chapters, a valuable feature in itself. Nevertheless, an attempt has been made to group the 17 chapters by thematic affinity into recognizable sections. Still, it should be made clear that these divisions are one of many possible ones and thus artificial: in most of the cases there are aspects of the paper that have a clear link to another thematic section. This is a natural outcome of the fact that linguistic research does not remain limited to isolated compartments, but usually looks into different subdomains in order to reach substantial results.

Josep Quer (Ed.): Signs of the Time. Selected Papers from TISLR 8. Paperback, with CD-ROM, 416 pp, Signum 2008, ISBN 978-3-936675-22-1. EUR 54,00

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