1887
Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

In the past two decades, a wave of campaigns to recognise sign languages have taken place in numerous countries. These campaigns sought official recognition of national sign languages, with the aim of enhancing signers’ social mobility and protecting the vitality of sign languages. These activities differ from a long history of sign language planning from a ‘language as a problem’ approach largely used by educators and policymakers to date. However, the instrumental rights and social mobility obtained as a result have thus far been limited with educational linguistic and language acquisition rights especially lacking. This article identifies two reasons for this situation. First, a view of Sign Language Peoples (SLPs) from a medical perspective has led to confusion about the meaning of linguistic rights for them and led governments to treat sign language planning differently than that for spoken languages. Furthermore, SLPs political participation is hindered by recognition being offered by governments without substantial commitments to financial resources, changes in government practices or greater inclusion of sign languages in public life. One exception to this trend are sign language planning bodies, but even these face challenges in the implementation phase. Going forward, we argue that sign language recognition legislation should centre on deaf communities’ concerns regarding sign language vitality. In addition to a need to ensure acquisition for deaf signers, we contend that while the expansion of hearing (and deaf) new signers can be interpreted in terms of language endangerment it can also be seen as strengthening sign languages’ vitality.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.41.2.04dem
2017-10-27
2019-10-22
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Adam, R.
    (2015) Standardization of Sign Languages. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 432–445. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0015
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0015 [Google Scholar]
  2. Baldauf, R. , & Kaplan, R.
    (2003) Who are the actors? The role of (applied) linguists in language policy. In P. Ryan & R. Terborg (Eds.), Language: Issues of Inequality (pp.19–40). Mexico City: CELE/ Autonomous National University of Mexico.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Batterbury, S. , Ladd, P. , & Gulliver, M.
    (2007) Sign Language Peoples as indigenous minorities: implications for research and policy. Environment and Planning, 39, 2899–2915. doi: 10.1068/a388
    https://doi.org/10.1068/a388 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bickford, J. A. , Lewis, M. P. , & Simons, G. F.
    (2014) Rating the vitality of sign languages. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36(5), 513–527. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2014.966827
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2014.966827 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bryan, A. , & Emery, S.
    (2014) The Case for Deaf Legal Theory Through the Lens of Deaf Gain. In H. -D. L. Bauman & J. J. Murray (Eds.), Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity (pp.37–62). University of Minnesota Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Committee on the Icelandic Sign Language
    Committee on the Icelandic Sign Language (2015) Report of the Committee on Icelandic Sign Language. 7 June 2015. Retrieved fromwww.arnastofnun.is/solofile/1017031
  7. Conama, J. B.
    (2013) Situating the socio-economic position of the Irish Deaf community in the equality framework. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: an International Journal, 32(2), 173–194. doi: 10.1108/02610151311324406
    https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151311324406 [Google Scholar]
  8. Deaf Sector Partnership
    Deaf Sector Partnership (2015) Scottish Government announces plans to recruit Deaf BSL users to the British Sign Language (BSL) National Advisory Group (NAG) [Press release]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.bda.org.uk/news/bsl-nag
    [Google Scholar]
  9. de Bres, J.
    (2015) The hierarchy of minority languages in New Zealand. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36(7), 677–693. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2015.1009465
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2015.1009465 [Google Scholar]
  10. De Meulder, M.
    (2012) Het decreet houdende de erkenning van de Vlaamse Gebarentaal: een evaluatie [The decree on the recognition of the Flemish Sign Language: an evaluation]. In G. De Clerck & R. Pinxten (Eds.), Gebarentaal zegt alles (pp.56–70). Leuven: Acco.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. (2016) Promotion in Times of Endangerment: the Sign Language Act in Finland. Language Policy, 16(2), 189–208. doi: 10.1007/s10993‑016‑9403‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-016-9403-5 [Google Scholar]
  12. (2015a): Sign language recognition: tensions between specificity and universalism in international deaf discourses. In A. Kusters & M. Friedner (Eds.), It’s Small World. Inquiries into International Deaf Spaces (pp.160–172). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. (2015b) The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 498–506. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0018
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0018 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2015c) A Barking Dog That Never Bites?: The British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 446–472. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0016
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0016 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2017) The influence of deaf people’s dual category status on sign language: The British Sign Langauage (Scotland) Act (2015). Current Issues in Language Planning, 18(2), 215–232. doi: 10.1080/14664208.2016.1248139
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2016.1248139 [Google Scholar]
  16. Dunbar, R.
    (2006) Is There a Duty to Legislate for Linguistic Minorities?Journal of Law and Society, 33(1), 181–198. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑6478.2006.00354.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2006.00354.x [Google Scholar]
  17. Eichmann, H.
    (2009) Planning sign languages: promoting hearing hegemony? Conceptualizing sign language standardization. Current Issues in Language Planning, 10(3), 293–307. doi: 10.1080/14664200903116287
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664200903116287 [Google Scholar]
  18. Emery, S.
    (2011) Citizenship and the Deaf Community. Nijmegen: Ishara Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Erlenkamp, S. , Gjøen, S. , Haualand, H. , Kvitvær, H. B. , Peterson, P. R. , Schrøder, O. , & Vonen, A. M.
    (2007) Begrunnelser for å gjøre norsk tegnspråk til offisielt språk [Reasons for making Norwegian Sign Language an official language]. Norges Døveforbund.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. European Union of the Deaf
    European Union of the Deaf (2011) Sign Languages’ status under threat in Denmark and the Netherlands? [Press release]. Retrieved fromwww.eud.eu/news/wfd-eud-press-release/
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Fishman, J.
    (1991) Reversing Language Shift: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Assistance to Threatened Languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Geraci, C.
    (2012) Language Policy and Planning: The Case of Italian Sign Language. Sign Language Studies, 12(4), 494–518. doi: 10.1353/sls.2012.0006
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2012.0006 [Google Scholar]
  23. Goldberg, D. , Looney, D. , & Lusin, N.
    (2015) Enrollment in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education Fall 2013. Retrieved from Modern Language Association website: https://apps.mla.org/pdf/2013_enrollment_survey.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Hauser, P. , & Kartheiser, G.
    (2014) The Advantages of Learning a Sign Language. In H. -D. L. Bauman & J. J. Murray (Eds.), Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity (pp.133–145). University of Minnesota Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Hoyer, K.
    (2004) The Sociolinguistic Situation of Finland-Swedish Deaf People and Their Language, Finland-Swedish Sign Language. In M. Van Herreweghe & M. Vermeerbergen (Eds.), Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities (Vol.10, pp.3–23). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Human Rights Commission
    Human Rights Commission (2013) A New Era in the Right to Sign: He Houhanga Rongo te Tika ki te ReoTuri. Report of the New Zealand Sign Language Inquiry. Retrieved fromhttps://www.hrc.co.nz/files/8014/2356/7275/A-New-Era-in-the-Right-to-Sign-for-web.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Humphries, T.
    (1977) Communicating across Cultures (Deaf-Hearing) and Language Learning (Doctoral dissertation, Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH). Retrieved fromlibguides.gallaudet.edu/content.php?pid=114455&sid=989379
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Humphries, T. , Kushalnagar, P. , Mathur, G. , Napoli, D. J. , Padden, C. , Rathmann, C. , & Smith, S. R.
    (2012) Language acquisition for deaf children: Reducing the harms of zero tolerance to the use of alternative approaches. Harm Reduction Journal, 9(1), 16. doi: 10.1186/1477‑7517‑9‑16
    https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7517-9-16 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2015) Language Choices for Deaf Infants: Advice for Parents Regarding Sign Languages. Clinical Pediatrics, 55(6), 513–517. doi: 10.1177/0009922815616891
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0009922815616891 [Google Scholar]
  30. Institute for Language and Folklore
    Institute for Language and Folklore (2016) About the Institute for Language and Folklore. Retrieved fromwww.sprakochfolkminnen.se/om-oss/verksamhet/about-the-institute.html.
  31. Johnston, T.
    (2006) W(h)ither the Deaf Community? Population, Genetics, and the Future of Australian Sign Language. Sign Language Studies6(2), 137–173. doi: 10.1353/sls.2006.0006
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2006.0006 [Google Scholar]
  32. Jousma, C.
    (2009) Van warme woorden en “gave” gebaren [Of warm words and “whole” signs]. Leeuwarden/Ljouwert: in opdracht van het Fries Centrum voor Doven en Slechthorenden.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Kisch, S.
    (2008) Deaf discourse: The social construction of deafness in a Bedowin Community in the Negev. Medical Antropology, 27(3), 283–313. doi: 10.1080/01459740802222807
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01459740802222807 [Google Scholar]
  34. Knoors, H. , & Marschark, M.
    (2012) Language Planning for the 21st Century: Revisiting Bilingual Language Policy for Deaf Children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(3), 291–305. doi: 10.1093/deafed/ens018
    https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/ens018 [Google Scholar]
  35. Krausneker, V.
    (2000) Sign Languages and the Minority Language Policy of the European Union. In M. Metzger (Ed.), Bilingualism & Identity in Deaf Communities (pp.142–158). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. (2003) Has something changed? Sign Languages in Europe: the case of minorised minority languages. Deaf Worlds, 19(2), 33–46.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. (2015) Ideologies and Attitudes towards Sign Languages: An Approximation. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 411–431. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0014
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0014 [Google Scholar]
  38. Kushalnagar, P. , Mathur, G. , Moreland, C. J. , Napoli, D. J. , Osterling, W. , Padden, C. , & Rathmann, C.
    (2010) Infants and Children with Hearing Loss Need Early Language Access. Journal of Clinical Ethics, 21(2), 143–154.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Kusters, A.
    (2015) Deaf Space in Adamorobe: An ethnographic study in a village in Ghana. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Ladd, P.
    (2003) Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Language Council of Norway
    Language Council of Norway (2016) Om Oss [About us]. Retrieved fromwww.sprakradet.no/Vi-og-vart/Om-oss/Språkrådet
    [Google Scholar]
  42. McKee, R.
    (2008) The construction of deaf children as marginal bilinguals in the mainstream. Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(5), 579. doi: 10.1080/13670050802149168
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050802149168 [Google Scholar]
  43. (2011) Action Pending: Four Years on from the New Zealand Sign Language Act. VUW Law Review, 42(2), 277–298.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. (2017) Assessing the vitality of New Zealand Sign Language. Sign Language Studies, 17(3), 322–362. doi: 10153/sls.2017.0008
    https://doi.org/10153/sls.2017.0008 [Google Scholar]
  45. McKee, R. , & Manning, V.
    (2015) Evaluating Effects of Language Recognition on Language Rights and the Vitality of New Zealand Sign Language. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 473–497. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0017
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0017 [Google Scholar]
  46. May, S.
    (2003) Rearticulating the Case for Minority Language Rights. Current Issues in Language Planning, 4(2), 95–125. doi: 10.1080/14664200308668052
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664200308668052 [Google Scholar]
  47. (2012) Language and minority rights. Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language (2nd ed.). NY and London: Routledge.
  48. Mitchell, R. E. , & Karchmer, M. A.
    (2004) Chasing the Mythical Ten Percent: Parental Hearing Status of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in the United States. Sign Language Studies, 4(2), 138–163. doi: 10.1353/sls.2004.0005
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2004.0005 [Google Scholar]
  49. Mitchell, R. E. , Young, T. A. , Bachleda, B. , & Karchmer, M. A.
    (2006) How Many People Use ASL in the United States? Why Estimates Need Updating. Sign Language Studies, 6(3), 306–335. doi: 10.1353/sls.2006.0019
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2006.0019 [Google Scholar]
  50. Murray, J. J.
    (2007) “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”: the transnational lives of Deaf Americans, 1870–1924 (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved fromir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1317&context=etd
    [Google Scholar]
  51. (2015) Linguistic Human Rights Discourse in Deaf Community Activism. Sign Language Studies, 15(4), 379–410. doi: 10.1353/sls.2015.0012
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2015.0012 [Google Scholar]
  52. Niemela, J.
    (2011) Danish Sign Language as an endangered language?Presented at theWFD-EUD conference “Sign Languages as Endangered Languages,” Ål, Norway, 7 November 2011.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Nonaka, A. M.
    (2014) (Almost) everyone here Spoke Ban Khor Sign Language – until they started using TSL: Language shift and endangerment in a Thai village sign language. Language and Communication, 38, 54–72. doi: 10.1016/j.langcom.2014.05.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2014.05.005 [Google Scholar]
  54. Nover, S.
    (2000) History of Language Planning in Deaf Education: the 19th Century (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved fromarizona.openrepository.com/arizona/handle/10150/284155
    [Google Scholar]
  55. O’Rourke, B. , Pujolar, J. , & Famallo, F.
    (2015) New speakers of minority languages: The challenging opportunity – Foreward. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 231, 1–20. doi: 10.1515/ijsl‑2014‑0029
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2014-0029 [Google Scholar]
  56. Padden, C. & Humphries, T.
    (1988) Deaf in America. Voices from a culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Punch, R. , & Hyde, M. B.
    (2011) Communication, Psychosocial, and Educational Outcomes of Children with Cochlear Implants and Challenges Remaining for Professionals and Parents. International Journal of Otolaryngology, 4, 1–10. doi: 10.1155/2011/573280
    https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/573280 [Google Scholar]
  58. Quer, J.
    (2012) Legal pathways to the recognition of sign languages: A comparison of the Catolan and Spanish Sign language acts. Sign Language Studies, 12(4), 565–582.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Reagan, T.
    (2010) Language Policy and Planning for Sign Languages (Vol.16). Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. (2011) Ideological Barriers to American Sign Language: Unpacking Linguistic Resistance. Sign Language Studies, 11(4), 606–636. doi: 10.1353/sls.2011.0006
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2011.0006 [Google Scholar]
  61. Romaine, S.
    (2006) Planning for the survival of linguistic diversity. Language Policy, 5(4), 441–473. doi: 10.1007/s10993‑006‑9034‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-006-9034-3 [Google Scholar]
  62. Rubio-Marín, R.
    (2003) Language Rights: Exploring the Competing Rationales. In W. Kymlicka & A. Patten (Eds.), Language Rights and Political Theory (pp.52–79). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Ruiz, R.
    (1984) Orientations in language planning. NABE: The Journal for the National Association for Bilingual Education, 8(2), 15–34.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Sarivaara, E. , Uusiautti, S. , & Määttä, K.
    (2013) How to Revitalize an Indigenous Language? Adults’ Experiences of the Revitalization of the Sámi Language. Cross-Cultural Communication, 9(1), 13–21.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Schermer, T.
    (2012) Sign Language Planning in the Netherlands between 1980 and 2010. Sign Language Studies, 12(4), 467–493. doi: 10.1353/sls.2012.0016
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2012.0016 [Google Scholar]
  66. Scottish Government
    Scottish Government (2014) British Sign Language (BSL) Bill – Government Memorandum. Retrieved fromwww.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EducationandCultureCommittee/BSL%20Bill/BSLBill_SGmemo_Dec2014.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Skutnabb-Kangas, T.
    (2010) Language rights. In J. Jaspers , J-O Östman , & J. Verschueren (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatic highlights. Society and Language Use (Vol.7, pp.212–232). John Benjamins Publishing Company.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & Aikio-Puoskari, U.
    (2003) Exclusion or inclusion – linguistic human rights for a linguistic minority, the Deaf Sign language users, and an indigenous people, the Saami. In P. Lee (Ed.), Many voices, one vision: The Right to Communicate in Practice (pp.59–88). London: Southbound.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Spolsky, B.
    (2003) Reassessing Mãori regeneration. Language in Society, 32(4), 553–578. doi: 10.1017/s0047404503324042
    https://doi.org/10.1017/s0047404503324042 [Google Scholar]
  70. Stokoe, W.
    (1960) Sign Language Structure: An Outline of the Visual Communication Systems of the American Deaf. InStudies in linguistics: Occasional papers (No.8). Buffalo: Dept. of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Buffalo.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Suomen viittomakielten kielipoliittinen ohjelma
    Suomen viittomakielten kielipoliittinen ohjelma (2010) [The Language Policy Programme for the National Sign Languages in Finland] Helsinki: Kuurojen Liitto ry & Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus. Retrieved fromwww.kotus.fi/index.phtml?s=3834
  72. Tallroth, P.
    (2012) Multilingualism in Finland: A Legal Perspective. Language & Law, 1. Advance online publication. https://www.languageandlaw.de/volume-1/3339.
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Tervoort, B.
    (1953) Structurele analyse van visueel taalgebruik binnen een groep dove kinderen [Structural analysis of visual language use within a group of deaf children]. Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitgeverij.
    [Google Scholar]
  74. Tollefson, J.
    (2001) Language policy/planning and disadvantages. In R. Kaplan (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics (pp.415–23). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  75. Turner, G. H.
    (2003a) On policies and prospects for British Sign Language. In G. Hogan-Brun & S. Wolff (Eds.), Minority Languages in Europe: frameworks, status, prospects (pp.173–191). Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9780230502994_10
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230502994_10 [Google Scholar]
  76. (2003b) Government recognition and £1 million boost for British Sign Language. Deaf Worlds, 19(1), 74–78.
    [Google Scholar]
  77. UNESCO
    UNESCO (2013) UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO.
    [Google Scholar]
  78. Van Herreweghe, M. , De Meulder, M. , & Vermeerbergen, M.
    (2015) From Erasure to Recognition (and Back Again?): The Case of Flemish Sign Language. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies in Language Research, Policy and Practice (pp.45–61). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  79. Wang, X. , Spotti, M. , Juffermans, K. , Cornips, L. , Kroon, S. , & Blommaert, J.
    (2014) Globalization in the margins: toward a re-evalution of language and mobility. Applied Linguistics Review, 5(1), 23–44. doi: 10.1515/applirev‑2014‑0002
    https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2014-0002 [Google Scholar]
  80. Wheatley, M. & Pabsch, A.
    (2010) Sign Language Legislation in the European Union. Brussels: European Union of the Deaf.
    [Google Scholar]
  81. (2012) Sign Language Legislation in the European Union (2nd ed.). Brussels: European Union of the Deaf.
    [Google Scholar]
  82. Wheeler, A. , Archbold, S. M. , Hardie, T. , & Watson, L. M.
    (2009) Children with cochlear implants: The communication journey. Cochlear Implants International, 10(1), 41–62. doi: 10.1002/cii.370
    https://doi.org/10.1002/cii.370 [Google Scholar]
  83. Zeshan, U. & De Vos, C.
    (2012) Sign Languages in Village Communities: Anthropological and linguistic insights. Sign Language Typology Series No. 4. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9781614511496
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614511496 [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/lplp.41.2.04dem
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error