Emerging sign languages

Autor/a: ARONOFF, Mark; MEIR, Irit; PADDEN, Carol; SANDLER, Wendy
Año: 2010
Editorial: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


The new sign languages that linguists have begun to study fall into two categories, distinguished by the social conditions of their formation (Sandler, 2005; Woll & Ladd, 2003), which we will call village sign languages and deaf community sign languages. The major difference between the two is in th e social homogeneity of their origins. A village sign language arises in an existing, relatively insular community into which a number of deaf children are born. A deaf community sign language, on the other hand, arises when a group of deaf individuals, often from different places, are brought together (frequently for educational purposes, as in a residential school) and form a community.

Categorizing new sign languages in this way allows us to consider potentially important differences arising from the two types of linguistic environments. In the village sign language setting, people share a common culture and social environment at a very intimate level from the beginning. Their shared context, expectations, and knowledge make it easier for them to communicate than it is for people with diverse backgrounds. This degree of familiarity may allow them to be less explicit verbally than people who do not have as much in common, yet at the same time to communicate effectively across a range of topics provided the context is shared. The broad diversity that characterizes the users of new sign languages of the other type, the deaf community sign languages, may have the effect of increasing the speed at which systematic linguistic structures develop. These are intriguing possibilities, for which some evidence already exists. By discovering and investigating new languages in each of these two categories, linguists are gaining new insight into the three fundamental theoretical issues raised above.