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Language justice as sign language rights for Deaf people

The author argues that signing Deaf communities need language justice: in other words, they need protection for their sign language rights.
Cover of an issue of the journal entitled "Language Policy"

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In most countries, laws and other policies treat Deaf people as people with disabilities and include them in disability-focused laws. But author Sarah Batterbury argues that signing Deaf communities need language justice. In other words, Deaf people need sign language rights. Furthermore, she argues that sign language policies should recognize the minority language status of Sign Language Peoples. Meanwhile, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires ratifying countries to recognize sign language and support sign bilingual education. The author suggests that the CRPD offers the “best hope” for language justice with full access to sign language.

Sarah Batterbury published this article in the August 2012 issue of Language Policy. The full article is not available online for free. You can buy the article at the link, or ask your library if they subscribe to the Language Policy journal. We could not assess if the article is accessible for people using screen reading software.

Also read an argument for why national constitutions should protect the legal right to sign language. Or watch the story of how the Filipino Sign Language Act passed in the Philippines.

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TRANSCRIPT — DESCRIPTIONS AND CAPTIONS

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