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Deaf Culture

  • By: Thomas K. Holcomb
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

For the past few decades, Deaf people have proudly proclaimed that they have an authentic culture to call their own. This proclamation was one of the outcomes of the legitimization of American Sign Language (ASL) as a distinct language with its own syntax, semantics, and discourse structure. Based on this finding by linguistic scholars in the 1960s, academics began to question whether ASL served as a prelude to the acknowledgment of a Deaf culture. Prior to this discovery, Deaf people had lived their lives for centuries and practiced what is now known as Deaf culture. Since then, scores of academic studies, scholarly articles, prominent books, and educational DVDs have been produced, highlighting and documenting the cultural markers of the Deaf community. In addition, colleges and ...

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