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Sign Language: Eastern Europe

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

Eastern Europe is home to a number of different sign languages. Their origins date back to the first schools for the Deaf, but there are significant differences between them. For space reasons, it is impossible to discuss all of them in this article. Therefore, in what follows we focus mainly on Polish Sign Language (polski język migowy; hereafter, PJM) as an example.

PJM has its roots in 1817 and in the Institute for the Deaf in Warsaw (then part of the Russian Empire), and belongs to the French family of sign languages unlike many other sign languages of Eastern Europe, which belong to the family of Russian sign languages. It is worth noting that PJM does not come from the German family of sign languages as ...

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