[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 24] 1986
► pp. 118–126
In the recent history of scientific endeavour with signing deaf people and the attitudes towards it of society at large, four periods can be distinguished, (1) until about 1950: signing is either a primitive, sublinguistic system or a derivation of spoken language, or a combination of the two; (2) until about 1965: it could be a language provided it shows enough parallels with the structure of languages based on speech; (3) until about 1980: no matter how one looks at it, it shows striking parallels with these real languages; (4) until now: forget the criteria for spoken languages and the parallellism; sign languages have a structure and a function sui generis and ought to be investiga-ted in their own true linguistic value. Of all the disciplins that have gone through this development in the periods mentioned, the following are the most important ones and are dealt with in some detail (1) linguistics, specifically phonology, syntax and lexicology; (2) psycholinguistics, including first language acquisition of deaf children of both deaf and hearing parents; (3) sociolinguistics, with some accent on the relation to creóle studies, the discourse analysis, and the bilingual situation of the deaf as a minority of a unique kind; (4) other disciplins, very shortly, like otology, audiology, neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry. Finally, the following four speakers in the section on sign language research are introduced with some information on their backgrounds and interests (1) Trude Schermer, with lexicography, syntax and sociolinguistic comparison of local varieties as main interest; (2) Filip Loncke as the main representant of sign language research in Flemish Belgium whose specialty is sign phonology; (3) Rita Harder who has specialized in both hand shape phonology and initial interaction and communication between young deaf children and their hearing mothers; (4) Harry Knoors who as a psycholinguist and a teacher of the deaf combines research and teaching.
Article language: Dutch