forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  "Angus B. Grieve-Smith"
Date:  Sat Sep 12, 1998  2:56 am
Subject:  Re: need your help

Erin and other interested folks,

I'd like to say a few words about the program here at UNM. The
Linguistics Department offers both an MA and a PhD. I chose it for my PhD
because it has a strong focus on signed languages, but takes a functional
approach to linguistic analysis rather than the formal approach favored by
schools like the University of Rochester. We also have strong
specializations in sociolinguistics and Spanish linguistics.

UNM's undergraduate program in signed-language interpreting is
administered as part of the Linguistics Department. On our linguistics
faculty we have Sherman Wilcox, who studies signed-language syntax,
semantics and lexicography and the evolution of communication. We have
had visiting scholars come from around the world to work with Sherman,
sometimes for a year at a time. Jill Morford is a psycholinguist who is
investigating acquisition of ASL by people Deaf from birth, and its
effects on linguistic competence. Phyllis Wilcox studies the lexical
semantics of ASL, and Bill Isham, the coordinator of the interpreting
program, investigates the psychology of signed-language interpreting.

In addition, we have several professors who work primarily with
spoken languages, but who support their students' work on signed
languages. Joan Bybee is world-reknowned for her work on language change
and emergent grammar, and many of her students apply her theories to
signed languages. Alan Hudson and Garland Bills work with
sociolinguistics, and have expressed willingness to advise students who
investigate the sociology of signed languages.

As a PhD student, I am working on SignSynth, a program to
synthesize signed languages, as well as other applications of
computational linguistics to signed languages. I and other students in
the program use writing systems for signed languages, and are interested
in seeing their widespread adoption.

If this interests you, I encourage you to visit our department.
Applications should be available in the next couple of months; you can
email our department office () for more info. Also please
visit our web page (, and keep an eye out for more
information on our student conference in April. A number of us will also
be presenting at TISLR in November. Let me know if you have any more

-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
Linguistics Department
The University of New Mexico

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