This introductory text celebrates another dimension of diversity in the United States Deaf community — variation in the way American Sign Language (ASL) is used by Deaf people all across the nation. The different ways people have of saying or signing the same thing defines variation in language. In spoken English, some people say "soda," others say "pop," "Coke," or "soft drink;" in ASL, there are many signs for "birthday," "Halloween," "early," and of course, "pizza."
What's Your Sign for Pizza? derives from an extensive seven-year research project in which more than 200 Deaf ASL users representing different ages, genders, and ethnic groups from seven different regions were filmed sharing their signs for everyday vocabulary. The film clips form a supplemental resource to the text and are referenced in their relevant chapters. The text begins with an explanation of the basic concepts of language and the structure of sign language. Each part of the text concludes with questions for discussion, and the final section offers three supplemental readings that provide further information on variation in both spoken and signed languages. What's Your Sign for Pizza also briefly sketches the development of ASL, which explains the relationships between language varieties throughout the country.
The videos are available online at www.youtube.com/GallaudetUniversityPress.