Guest Speaker Robert E. Johnson

Portrait of Robert E. Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert E. Johnson is Professor of Linguistics at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., where he has been teaching and learning since 1982 in the Department of Linguistics. He served for eleven years as Chair of the Department of Linguistics, three years as Director of Graduate Education, and three years as Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Extended Learning.

He holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington State University. He is an anthropological linguist, interested in the phonetic, phonological and morphological structure of signed languages and their function in deaf communities.

His recent interests include an examination of the structure of fingerspelling in ASL and (with Scott Liddell) the development of a phonetic notation system for signed languages. He has examined the structures of a number of signed languages, including American Sign Language, Argentine Sign Language and the sign language of a Yucatec Maya community. He is co-author of the widely read monograph, “Unlocking the Curriculum: Principles for Achieving Access in Deaf Education,” and numerous papers on sign language structure and function and the place of natural signed languages in the education of deaf people.

He currently divides his time between Washington, D.C., and Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.