|William C. Stokoe, Jr.
William Stokoe, 1993
July 21, 1919|
New Hampshire, USA
||April 4, 2000
Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA
Cornell University (Ph.D., 1946)
American Sign Language as a unique language,
American Sign Language (ASL)
William C. Stokoe, Jr. (/
STOH-kee; July 21, 1919 in New Hampshire – April 4, 2000 in Chevy Chase, Maryland), a long-time professor at
Gallaudet University, was an American linguist. His research on American Sign Language (ASL) revolutionized the understanding of ASL in the United States and
sign languages throughout the world and had a profound impact on deaf culture, deaf education, and sign language teaching and interpreting. Stokoe's work led to a widespread recognition that sign languages are true languages, exhibiting syntax and morphology, and are not mere systems of gesture. This work thus redefined "language" itself, and influenced thinking in theoretical linguistics, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, neural studies, and even jurisprudence.