Psycholinguistiek en taalstoornissen
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Until the sixties linguists didn't show any interest in the natural language of prelingually deaf people. Generally speaking their communication system was not considered a real language comparable to any spoken language. The signs used by deaf people were taken as natural gestures. In 1880 at the Milan conference on deaf education it was decided that signs should no longer be used in the schools for the deaf and that deaf people should not be allowed to use their own communication system. Instead, the spoken language of the hearing environment should be learned. At that time deaf educators were convinced of the damaging influence on spoken language development of the use of signs. However, there is no evidence for this. On the contrary, research has shown that the use of sign language as a first language improves the communicative abilities of the deaf people, which could be the basis for learning the spoken language.Despite this resolution deaf communities continued, albeit isola-ted and not openly, to use their own communication system. In 1963 a book was published by an American linguist, William Stokoe, that changed the way in which people thought about sign language. He showed how signs can be analysed into elements comparable to phonemes in spoken language and started the lingu-istic research on grammatical aspects of American Sign Language. This research showed that sign language is indeed a 'real' language, equal to any spoken language and that deaf people should have the right to use this language. Following American research, many linguists in Europe discovered' sign languages in their countries. Even in traditionally oral countries like the Netherlands and Belgium. In this paper some grammatical aspects of sign languages are discussed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
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