The study of sign language in South Africa has been hindered by the social, political and educational context in which deaf people find themselves in that country. Not only is there a very high degree of cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity within the deaf population in South Africa, but these divisions have been artificially maintained through separate social and educational institutions as a result of the government’s policies of apartheid. It is actually more accurate to speak of the different “deaf communities” in South Africa than it is to speak of the “deaf community.” The authors discuss factors that have delayed the development of basic research on both sign language and the deaf community in South Africa and present the findings of the first major institutional effort to study effective sign language communication between deaf and hearing signers in South Africa, the SimCom project.


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pp. 131-142
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Open Access
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