NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ864604
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 79
ISSN: ISSN-1466-4208
Motives and Outcomes of New Zealand Sign Language Legislation: A Comparative Study between New Zealand and Finland
Reffell, Hayley; McKee, Rachel Locker
Current Issues in Language Planning, v10 n3 p272-292 Aug 2009
The medicalized interpretation of deafness has until recently seen the rights and protections of sign language users embedded in disability law. Yet the rights and protections crucial to sign language users centre predominantly on matters of language access, maintenance and identity. Legislators, motivated by pressure from sign language communities and in response to international human rights laws, have begun to enact statutes that include provisions pertaining to sign language. The New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 (NZSL Act 2006 hereafter) made NZSL an official language but created minimal enforceable rights or obligations. This paper explores the significance of this legislation both in New Zealand, in comparison with the Maori Language Act 1987, and internationally, in comparison with the legislative situation in Finland. Finland is considered to be a leader in sign language user rights. Similarities between New Zealand and Finland such as geography, population size, type of government and economy provide for a comparative study. This paper considers whether the NZSL Act 2006 fulfilled the intention of Parliament and the desire of the Deaf community to make a material difference to accessing citizenship through NZSL, particularly in education, or whether there were possible non-community motives for the NZSL Act 2006 that prevented it from fulfilling its potential. (Contains 19 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland; New Zealand