Armstrong, David F. 1949–

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Armstrong, David F. 1949–

PERSONAL: Born 1949, in Haverhill, MA. Education: University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Budget Office, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, director of budget and editor of Sign Language Studies.

AWARDS, HONORS: Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language named an outstanding academic title of 1999 by Choice.


(With William C. Stokoe and Sherman E. Wilcox) Gesture and the Nature of Language, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1995.

Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language, Gallaudet University Press (Washington, DC), 1999.

(Editor, with Michael A. Karchmer and John Vickrey Van Cleve) The Study of Signed Language: Essays in Honor of William C. Stokoe, Gallaudet University Press (Washington, DC), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Cognition, Education, and Deafness: Directions for Research and Instruction, edited by David S. Martin, Gallaudet University Press (Washington, DC), 1995, and Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education, edited by Marc Marschark and Patricia E. Spencer, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Visual Verbal Languaging, American Annals of the Deaf, Current Anthropology, and Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

WORK IN PROGRESS: With Sherman E. Wilcox, Vision to Voice: The Gestural Origin of Language, Oxford University Press.

SIDELIGHTS: David F. Armstrong is an anthropologist who is especially interested in the role of gesture in the evolution of human communication. As editor of Sign Language Studies and the author of books on sign language, Armstrong has contributed to the understanding not only of the sign language used by deaf people, but also of linguistics in general. In his Language in Society review of Gesture and the Nature of Language, Adam Kendon wrote that "this very interesting book shows how our view of the nature of human language may be altered in a fundamental way if we take sign languages, rather than spoken languages, as a starting point for an understanding of language…. The authors … show that language produced by visible-signal-making gestures displays hitherto ignored or overlooked continuities with language produced by acoustic-signal-making gestures."

Armstrong's Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language expands the notion of language acquisition as a "multichannel phenomenon." Library Journal contributor Joan W. Gartland praised the work for its "rich array of information," and A. Arno in Choice called the study a "cogent, highly readable book" that makes "an important difference" in the study of the visual aspects of communication.

In 2000 Armstrong assumed the editorship of Sign Language Studies, a journal founded by pioneering sign language researcher William C. Stokoe. The journal is dedicated to scholarship on the subject of sign language and communication strategies for the hearing impaired.



Choice, November, 1999, A. Arno, review of Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language, p. 581.

Language in Society, June, 1997, Adam Kendon, review of Gesture and the Nature of Language, pp. 297-300.

Library Journal, March 15, 1999, Joan W. Gartland, review of Original Signs, p. 85.


Sign Language Studies Online, (August 12, 2005), interview with Armstrong.

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Armstrong, David F. 1949–

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