Chapter

The Language Politics of Japanese Sign Language (Nihon Shuwa)

Karen Nakamura

in Deaf around the World

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732548
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866359 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0019
The Language Politics of Japanese Sign Language (Nihon Shuwa)

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This chapter outlines difficulties in determining a national sign language, examining language ideologies. The author witnessed political fragmentation in Japan, as the older generation, represented by Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD), coined and disseminated new signs in order to compete with the national public television service as well as fend off criticism from younger, cultural Deaf members. While everyone agrees new signs are necessary, JFD is challenged as the guardian of the JSL lexicon both by D-Pro, a group that wants to protect against spoken language influences, and by the television network NHK, which reaches out to all deaf, regardless of the extent to which they vocalize or sign and regardless of which variety of sign they use.

Keywords: Deaf activism; deaf rights; sign language linguistics; Japanese Sign Language; Japanese Federation of the Deaf; language politics; Deaf pride

Chapter.  7764 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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