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Deaf History: Southeast Asia

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

While written Deaf histories generally begin with the establishment of schools for Deaf people, Deaf histories actually precede the development of Deaf schools, and certain facts about a country’s early Deaf history can be inferred from historical-comparative research on sign languages. This was the approach adopted by James Woodward when he used lexicostatistics and glottochronology to argue that there were one or more sign languages in the United States before French Sign Language (FSL) was introduced. A similar approach is adopted in the following discussion of Deaf history in Southeastern Asian countries, with the exceptions of Brunei and East Timor for which there is not enough information upon which to make any historical claims.

Cambodia

There is good linguistic evidence that there were one or more sign ...

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