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Ithaca College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights

Abstract

South African Sign Language (SASL) is the language used by most members of the Deaf community in South Africa. SASL, much like other signed languages, has a long history of development, acceptance, and non-acceptance. The history of SASL is undeniably intertwined and affected by the political history of South Africa. This article examines the relationship between ethnicity, language, and identity in the context of South African Sign Language and the Deaf community. It seeks to understand how the use of South African Sign Language as one’s main language affects one’s identity and their identification with their racial group. The article looks at the perspectives and stories of individual members of the Deaf community in Cape Town to come to a conclusion about the initial question: Does regular use of South African Sign Language and membership in the Deaf community affect one’s identity with a racial or ethnic group?

Disciplines

Civic and Community Engagement | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Speech Pathology and Audiology

 

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