The Significance of African Sign Languages for African Linguistics and Sign Language Studies

Autor/a: NYST, Viktoria
Año: 2013
Editorial: Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project, 2013
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Sign languages are the natural languages of deaf people and deaf communities. In the past 50 years, an impressive number of sign languages have come to be studied from a modern linguistic perspective, generating ground-breaking insights into the influence of the communicative channel on language structure. However, only a handful of these studies concern sign languages on the African continent. This is striking, particularly in view of the rich diversity of sign languages and signing communities found in Africa.  Despite being limited in number, the studies available on African sign languages reveal unique structural features, not attested in non-African sign languages so far. Thus, research on African sign languages is important for the typology of sign languages, as well as for the general typology of African languages. The diversity in signing communities in sociolinguistic terms offer valuable opportunities for studying the impact of social setting on sign language structure; an issue of current debate in the sign language literature. Studies on African sign languages are relevant for a number of domains in general linguistics as well, including language contact, change, shift, acquisition, creation, and emergence. Last but not least, the scientific examination of African sign languages is of major importance for the emancipation and participation of deaf African in society.
Selected Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on African Linguistics.