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Preface This book is an attempt to address an important and timely topic: language planning efforts, and the related language policies that arise from these efforts, for the sign languages used by deaf people. This is a huge topic on its own, but it is made more difficult in this book by my desire to provide an understandable introduction to these issues for two very different and distinct audiences. The first audience that I am trying to address are those who are already familiar and concerned with the literature on language planning and language policy studies, but who are not particularly familiar with either the deaf∩ world or sign language, and who wish to learn about the case of sign language and the deaf with respect to issues of language planning and language policy more broadly conceived. The second audience that I am trying to reach are those who are either members of the deaf∩ world, or who are familiar with the deaf∩ world and sign language, but who are unfamiliar with matters of language planning and language policy studies. We are in a period during which an immense amount of language planning activity is taking place around the world related to sign language and the deaf, and while much of this language planning is very positive in nature, not all of it is. In addition, the resistance to many efforts to gain recognition for sign languages—both official recognition and recognition for sign language as a medium of instruction in educational settings—is profoundly worrying, and demonstrates how far we have to go in many places and with many people in challenging traditional, and misguided, ideas about the nature of sign language, deafness, and the deaf community . As Graham Turner recently wrote, “Deaf communities undoubtedly benefitted from the multicultural turn and the politics of difference during the late twentieth century, but this last decade seems to have thrown them squarely back into a medicalised realm from which, it has been argued, there is no escape” (2006, p. 409). I am not ready to concede that there is no escape from the current medicalization of deafness that seems increasingly popular, in part as a response to cochlear implants, genetic advances, and other developments, but I also believe that it would be a mistake not to be aware of and sensitive to such changes. x v i i i : Preface The organization of Language Policy and Planning for Sign Languages is, I hope, both straightforward and logical. Because the book is written for two quite different audiences, the first two chapters seek to provide the necessary background for each audience: Chapter 1 provides an overview of the deaf∩ world (the deaf cultural community), as well as a brief introduction to sign language in general, while Chapter 2 provides a broad overview of language planning and language policy studies as both an academic discipline and an applied type of social engineering. Chapter 3 then examines the specific case of American Sign Language (ASL), both in terms of the history of language planning and language policy related to ASL (both in the nineteenth century and in the post-Congress of Milan period), and in more recent years. Chapter 4 provides a detailed, and critical, examination of the creation of manual sign codes for use in deaf education, both in the United States and elsewhere. Next, Chapter 5 takes a much broader international view, examining language policy and language planning in settings around the world. Finally, Chapter 6 seeks to provide a conclusion to the book, including recommendations for future language planning efforts for sign languages. In writing this book, I have benefited from the helpful comments and support of a number of individuals. I am grateful to Karen Beyard, Jane Edwards, Bonnie Fonseca-Greber, Nancy Hoffman, Paloma LaPuerta, Ceil Lucas, Daniel Mulcahy, Kristin Mulrooney, Frank Nuessel, Dale Ogilvy-Foreman, Terry Osborn, Claire Penn, Tony Rigazio-Digilio, and Humphrey Tonkin. I especially want to thank my friend and colleague Stephen Nover, the director of the Language Planning Institute (LPI) and the Center for ASL/English Bilingual Education and Research (CAEBER) at Gallaudet University for his unstinting generosity of time, resources, and spirit. I also want to thank Ivey Pittle Wallace at Gallaudet University Press for her help, support, and encouragement. Finally, as always I am incredibly grateful to Jo Ann, Joshua, Bryan, and Kimberly for their patience and tolerance during the writing of this book. Any mistakes, of course, are entirely my own. ...


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