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Signed Language Policy

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

Language policy for signed languages has had a number of overlapping foci: efforts to have governments grant official recognition to signed languages, the provision of bilingual education programs for deaf students, the teaching of signed languages to hearing individuals, and the development of dictionaries, textbooks, and other practical (generally educational) tools. Underlying all of these different kinds of language policy activities are issues related to beliefs and attitudes about signed languages, which in turn raise questions about language rights.

Linguistic Attitudes

One of the challenges faced by linguists is that, since everyone uses language, we also assume that we understand the nature of language. Language is ubiquitous in our lives. Many theorists maintain that it is what makes us human. And yet, our knowledge of language is ...

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