Research Presentation - Dr. Melanie McKay-Cody

Intergenerational Transmission of Sign Language: Ancestral Linguistic Links for Modern Language


The significance of the North American Indian Sign Language (aka Hand Talk) has largely been ignored until the most recent revitalization of spoken Indigenous languages within some institutions of higher education. Dr. Melanie McKay-Cody’s research focuses on intergenerational transmission of tribal signs through ancient linguistic landscapes which demonstrate a finding of signs in rock/picture writing and how these are passed down to current signers who still possess the knowledge of NAISL. A classification system of NAISL will be demonstrated.

Dr. McKay-Cody’s primary research interests consist of linguistics of North American Indian Sign Language and American Sign Language, rock/picture writing from combination of archaeological research and intergenerational transmission of tribal sign languages through ancestral linguistic landscape, Indigenous Deaf Studies, communicative kinship, and folk linguistics. Her studies are an interconnection of subjects and how these are linked to Indigenous Deaf people.


1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 22, 2021