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To the Lexicon and Beyond

Sociolinguistics in European Deaf Communities

Mieke Van Herreweghe and Myriam Vermeerbergen, Editors

Publication Year: 2004

Volume 10 of the series explores sociolinguistics in various European Deaf communities. Editors Van Herreweghe and Vermeerbergen present a wide array of research inspired by the Sociolinguistics Symposium 14 held at Ghent University, Belgium, in April 2002. Noted contributors from Finland, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom offer insights gleaned from the languages of their countries. Part One of this five-part volume investigates multilingualism and language contact among Finland-Swedish Deaf People. Part Two looks at regional variation and the evolution of signs in Flemish Sign Language, as well as gender-influenced variation in Irish Sign Language. Language policy and planning receives consideration in the third part, with a study of sign language lexical variation in the Netherlands and an analysis of the risks of codification in Flemish Sign Language. Part Four examines the implementation of bilingual programs for deaf students throughout Europe, and updates research on visually oriented language use in Swedish Deaf education classrooms. The final part of To the Lexicon and Beyond: Sociolinguistics in European Deaf Communities presents data on language attitudes, including a census of sign language users in Spain that reveal a changing language community. The last chapter of this fascinating assembly assays British Deaf communities and language identity in relation to issues of transnationality in the 21st century.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. v-vi

Editorial Advisory Board

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pp. vii

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Editors’ Introduction

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pp. ix

Volume 10 of the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series is centered around sociolinguistic research in European Deaf communities. The initial idea for this new volume arose at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 14, which was held at Ghent University, Belgium, in April 2002, where Ceil Lucas was one of the keynote speakers. ...


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The Sociolinguistic Situation of Finland-Swedish Deaf People and Their Language, Finland-Swedish Sign Language

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pp. 3-23

This chapter describes the sociolinguistic situation of the Finland-Swedish Deaf community. The members of this group are a linguistic minority with a long history; unfortunately, their sign language may today be endangered. Between 1998 and 2002 the Finnish Association of the Deaf conducted a research project on the lexicon of this language. ...


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Regional Variation in Flemish Sign Language

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pp. 27-38

This chapter presents the results of the first lexicographic study of Flemish Sign Language, Vlaamse Gebarentaal (VGT). As the linguistic component of a large-scale project involving the Deaf community in Flanders, this study was conducted at Ghent University in Belgium from 1999 to 2001. ...

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To the Lexicon and Beyond: The Effect of Gender on Variation in Irish Sign Language

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pp. 39-73

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the third most common language in Ireland, with approximately five thousand Deaf people using it as their first or preferred language (Burns 1997). The sociolinguistic context that ISL operates within is complex: Although Irish Sign Language is quite distinct from our nearest neighboring sign language, British Sign Language...

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Hard and Hard and Hard: The Same Sign? On the Evolution of Signs in Flemish Sign Language

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pp. 74-88

This ongoing study is a first exploration of the evolution of signs in Flemish Sign Language, Vlaamse Gebarentaal (VGT). It is inspired by a book titled De Tael der Natuer of de Oorsponkelyke Gebaerdentael der Doofstommen [The Language of Nature or the Original Sign Language of Deaf Mutes]. ...


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Lexical Variation in Sign Language of the Netherlands

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pp. 91-110

This chapter describes the lexical variation in Sign Language of the Netherlands (SLN) in relation to the codification of the language. Two large, national projects are important in this respect: the KOMVA project (1982–1990) and the Stabol project (1999–2002). ...

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Flemish Sign Language: Some Risks of Codification [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 111-137

Flemish Sign Language (Vlaamse Gebarentaal, or VGT) has only recently developed from a language that existed mostly ‘‘underground’’ in the Deaf community to one with a more general role in mainstream (hearing) society. This broader use of VGT has resulted in, among other things, a rising demand for opportunities to learn the language (e.g., by...


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The Path toward Bilingualism: Problems and Perspectives with Regard to the Inclusion of Sign Language in Deaf Education

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pp. 141-170

Language attitudes and planning play a prominent role in the extent to which educational institutions promote rather than hinder bilingualism at both the individual and societal levels (Grosjean 1982; Romaine 1996). In the case of deaf communities, such external factors have often led to critical conflict situations and severely undermined their path...

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Visually Oriented Language Use: Discursive and Technological Resources in Swedish Deaf Pedagogical Arenas

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pp. 171-207

The notions of ‘‘one school for all’’ and ‘‘lifelong learning’’ are two key democratic principles that underlie Swedish comprehensive and high-school education at the beginning of the twenty-first century.* These two have implications for what can be regarded as legitimate aspects of diversity, in how education for students who need special support is conceptualized, and in turn how these contexts are organized. ...


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Language Census of Sign-Language Users in Spain: Attitudes in a Changing Language Community

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pp. 211-247

Spain has always been a multilingual country. It is difficult to find a state in Europe in which this phenomenon does not occur, especially in the last three centuries. Vernacular, colonizing, and foreign (also called ‘‘immigrant’’) languages, together with the majority languages and the lesser-used or minority languages, all intermingle in the same ...

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Exploring British Experiences of Language and Deafhood in Hypermodernity

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pp. 248-263

This chapter explores some of the ideological underpinnings of younger Deaf people’s language practices and examines their implications in terms of social theory. It also discusses current British Sign Language (BSL) issues through a theoretical lens developed by Monica Heller (1999), which focuses on how we as language users respond to the challenges and constraints of ‘‘hypermodernity.’’ ...


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pp. 265-269


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pp. 271-285

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684616
E-ISBN-10: 1563684616
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683060
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683067

Page Count: 298
Illustrations: 19 tables, 68 figures, 16 photos
Publication Year: 2004