South African sign language

changing policies and practice

Debra Aarons, Louise Reynolds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections, and as a result of the election of the new government, the policy of apartheid that had governed every aspect of the lives of all South Africans was officially abolished. Needless to say, the simple abolition of apartheid did little to affect the many years of profound damage; the heritage of apartheid will be with us for many years to come. The consequences of the policy of apartheid can clearly be seen in the way that education is carried out in South Africa. Deaf people in South Africa have been affected by the policies of apartheid and by its educational and linguistic consequences in a profound and comprehensive way. We focus on the Western Cape Provicnce where we both live and work. Both authors are hearing and have been involved in Deaf community affairs for about ten years. The first author is a sign language linguist, and the second author is a language therapist. This chapter was written as an initial step to investigate the issue of variation in the signed language that is used in South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMany ways to be deaf
Subtitle of host publicationinternational variation in deaf communities
EditorsLeila Monaghan, Constanze Schmaling, Karen Nakamura, Graham H Turner
Place of PublicationWashington D.C.
PublisherGallaudet University Press
ISBN (Print)1563681358
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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    Aarons, D., & Reynolds, L. (2003). South African sign language: changing policies and practice. In L. Monaghan, C. Schmaling, K. Nakamura, & G. H. Turner (Eds.), Many ways to be deaf: international variation in deaf communities (pp. 194-210). Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.