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Judy Shepard-Kegl received her PH.D. in linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985, has worked and written extensively within her field and is best known for her work and multiple academic publishings on the Nicaraguan Sign Language (or ISN, Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua or Idioma de Signos Nicaragüense), a signed language spontaneously developed by deaf children in a number of schools in western Nicaragua in the 1970s and 1980s.

She is currently a tenured professor of Linguistics and coordinator of the ASL/English Interpreting Program at the University of Southern Maine.


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