Barbara Shaffer

Barbara Shaffer teaches courses in the B.S. Degree in Signed Language Interpreting and graduate courses in Linguistics. Her research interests lie primarily in the study of discourse pragmatics and cognitive theories of interpreting.

Educational History:

  • 1987, B.A. in Communicative Disorders, University of New Mexico
  • 1990, M.A. Deaf Education, Gallaudet University
  • 2000, Ph.D. Educational Linguistics (dissertation: “A Syntactic, Pragmatic Analysis of the Expression of Necessity and Possibility in American Sign Language” Advisor: Dr. Sherman Wilcox)

Research Interests:

Intersubjectivity in discourse, intersubjectivity in interpreted discourse, grammaticalization and historical change, modality and evidentiality, interpreting theory

Selected Publications:

  • Shaffer, Barbara, and Terry Janzen. (2016). Mood and modality in American Sign Language. In Jan Nuyts and Johan van der Auwera (Eds). The Oxford Handbook of Mood and Modality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 448-469. 
  • Shaffer, Barbara. (2013). Evolution of theory, evolution of role: How interpreting theory shapes interpreter role. In Christine Monikowski and Elizabeth Winston (Eds.), Evolving Paradigms in Interpreting Education: Impact of Interpreting Research on Teaching Interpreting. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press. 128-150. 
  • Janzen, Terry, and Shaffer, Barbara. (2013). The interpreter’s stance in intersubjective discourse. In Laurence Meurant, Aurélie Sinte, Myriam Vermeerbergen and Mieke Van Herreweghe (Eds.), Sign Language Research, Uses and Practices. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter/Ishara Press. 63-84. 
  • Shaffer, Barbara. (2012). Reported speech as an evidentiality strategy in American Sign Language. In Barbara Dancygier and Eve Sweetser (Eds.), Viewpoint and Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 139-155.
  • Shaffer, B. (2006). The acquisition of markers of modality among deaf children. In Brenda Schick, Marc Marschark, and Patricia Spencer (Eds.), Advances in the Sign Language Development of Deaf Children. Oxford University Press, 291–313.

Awards and Grants:

  • 2011: Fulbright Specialist Grant. Conducting seminars on Mental Health Interpreting in Ireland. $5,627.50.
  • 2017: Project Title: Minority language development: How do children acquire grammar when exposure to language is limited? Principal investigator: Naomi L. Shin, Co-PI: Barbara Shaffer, Collaborator: Jill Morford, Funding organization: University of New Mexico Amount: $11,867


I am actively involved in local, state, national and international interpreting communities. Currently, I am a Commissioner for the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education, which accredits signed language interpreting programs. I am the co-editor of the Journal of Interpretation, and I am a supreme court appointed member of the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts Language Access Advisory Board.

Teaching Interests:

I currently teach undergraduate courses in the Signed Language Interpreting Program, and linguistics courses at the graduate level. My teaching interests include: interpreting skills courses, interpreting theory, and intersubjectivity (including modality and evidentiality).

Representative Courses:

  • Sign 411 Consecutive Interpreting
  • Sign 412 Simultaneous Interpreting
  • Sign 418 Seminar in Signed Language Interpreting Research
  • Sign 419 Practicum in Signed Language Interpreting
  • Ling 554 Intersubjectivity and Stance