Sign Languages, Recognition of

Sign languages can be “recognized” in different ways. Linguistic research in the 1960s and 1970s recognized sign languages as full-fledged languages on an equal par with spoken languages. This academic recognition paved the way for a broader societal recognition and in some countries also led to a form of pedagogic recognition. In the late 1980s and during the 1990s, sign languages were increasingly being used in education. In some countries, this led to the establishment of bilingual education policies and schools. This entry uses several international case studies to highlight how sign languages have gained recognition outside of North America.


Sign languages have enjoyed implicit legal recognition for some time, at least since the 1980s. This means that some countries have legislation that, for example, entitles ...

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