The role of sign language narratives in developing identity for deaf children

Autor/a: DAY, Linda; SUTTON-SPENCE, Rachel
Año: 2010
Editorial: Journal of Folklore Research, An International Journal of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, nº 47, vol. 3 (2010) pp. 265-305
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


This article describes the role of sign language narratives in the development of Deaf identity in children. By analyzing interviews with British Deaf teachers and other Deaf adults as well as stories told to children using British Sign Language, we can see the elements of language and culture that adults believe should be passed on to the next generation of Deaf people. Deaf children are rarely born into the Deaf community and usually do not learn sign language from their parents, but through signed stories they are introduced to linguistic and cultural traditions present in mainstream British society and in the British Deaf community. I argue that storytelling in schools by Deaf teachers plays an essential role in deaf children's development of identity. Storytelling in any community is an important way to pass on linguistic and cultural heritage to the next generation. Signed stories have long been recognized within Deaf communities as a cornerstone of Deaf culture in many countries (e.g., Hall 1989; Peters 2000; Ruth-erford 1993), but there has been remarkably little published on the rich storytelling heritage of the British Deaf community (see Ladd 2003 for an important exception) and very little indeed on its impor-tance for deaf children.