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ERIC Number: ED158614
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Sign Language Research and Sociolinguistic Theory.
Deuchar, Margaret
This paper explores the link between sign language research and sociolinguistic theory. It demonstrates how sign language research benefits from a sociolinguistic approach and provides validation for sociolinguistic theory. Previous research on the sign language of the deaf is reviewed, and a distinction is made between "structure-oriented" and "community-oriented" approaches. While the former sees language as an abstract, autonomous system, the latter views it as part of the communication process among human beings. It is argued that the community-oriented approach, which is sociolinguistic in nature, is particularly well suited to sign language research. This is because it avoids pitfalls of the structure-oriented approach, in particular, an orientation toward spoken language and the assumption that sign is homogeneous. It is shown that the usefulness of the community-oriented approach to sign language provides validation for the concepts, methods and scope of sociolinguistics, and thus supports those who argue for a radical change in linguistics along sociolinguistic lines. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Congress of Sociology (9th, Uppsala, Sweden, August 14-19, 1978)