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Language ideologies in the shared signing community of Adamorobe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2014

Annelies Kusters*
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity, Hermann-Föge-Weg 11, 37073 Göttingen, Germanyannelieskusters@gmail.com

Abstract

This article analyzes language ideologies with regard to sign language in Adamorobe, a “shared signing community” in southern Ghana. Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) is a “shared sign language,” used by all deaf people and a large number of hearing Akan-speaking people. Deaf schoolchildren from Adamorobe attend a school where Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) is taught. Hearing interviewees have experiential knowledge that everything can be said in AdaSL, emphasise the shared roots of AdaSL and Akan, and called AdaSL “natural.” Deaf interlocutors describe Akan, AdaSL, and GSL as three distinct but equivalent languages. AdaSL is said to be a “hard” language, more pleasant to use, and more expressive than GSL, but sign bilingualism is highly valued. These findings are compared and contrasted with accounts on language ideologies with regard to other shared sign languages and larger urban/national sign languages. (Language ideologies, language practices, Ghana, Ghanaian Sign Language, Adamorobe Sign Language, Akan, shared sign languages, shared signing communities, village sign languages)*

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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