Sign language rights for all, and for ever?

De Meulder, M. (Keynote speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description

Sign language rights are paramount on deaf political agendas around the world and the subject of increased research attention. They must be seen in changing, sometimes contradicting, contexts: an increasing number of deaf children using advanced hearing technologies, a decreasing number of deaf traditional signers and an increasing number of deaf and hearing new signers, and an increasing number of hearing people having signs or sign language in their linguistic repertoire. Sign languages are being available on a greater scale than ever before, and there is a greater availability of learning opportunities (but not for everyone). What do sign language rights mean in these changing contexts, and do they mean different things for different people in different contexts?
Also important but not often acknowledged so far: sign language rights have to be understood within multilingual contexts. Sign language rights and legislation are often based on monolingual ideologies, but deaf people do not ‘just’ sign; they live in complex multilingual and multimodal networks where ‘sign language’ or ‘sign languages’ are often only one of the languages they use. What do sign language rights mean in contexts where deaf people can choose not to sign? How are sign language rights related to rights to other languages? How can we reconcile a sign language rights discourse with a multilingual discourse?
This presentation will critically evaluate some of the claims and ideologies that have been put forward to promote sign language rights so far, and discuss how they might need to be adapted to respond to new challenges.
Period25 Jul 2019
Event titleSign language rights for all : World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf
Event typeConference
Conference numberXVIII
LocationParis, France