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ERIC Number: EJ869491
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-0302-1475
Observations on the Use of Manual Signs and Gestures in the Communicative Interactions between Native Americans and Spanish Explorers of North America: The Accounts of Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
Bonvillian, John D.; Ingram, Vicky L.; McCleary, Brendan M.
Sign Language Studies, v9 n2 p132-165 Win 2009
The accounts of two men who participated in several Spanish-led expeditions to the New World in the early 1500s document the frequent use of manual signs and gestures in the initial interactions between European explorers and the indigenous peoples of North America. Bernal Diaz del Castillo described the events that occurred during three expeditions to lands that are part of present-day Mexico. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca recounted the incidents that took place during his trek across much of the North American continent. Their reports reveal that both the European explorers and the indigenous peoples relied on manual signs and gestures to help overcome spoken-language communication barriers. They also show that manual signing was already being widely used by the native peoples of North America at the time of their first contacts with European explorers. (Contains 20 notes.)
Gallaudet University Press. 800 Florida Avenue NE, Denison House, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Tel: 202-651-5488; Fax: 202-651-5489; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Cuba; Florida; Mexico; North America; Spain