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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia

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CiteScore 2016: 0.53

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Volume 2008, Issue 192 (Jan 2008)


Choosing how to write sign language: a sociolinguistic perspective

Jason Hopkins
  • SIL International
Published Online: 2008-07-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/IJSL.2008.036


This article introduces the reader to the sociolinguistic issues surrounding the adoption of a writing system for sign languages. Initially, some background on sign language and Deaf culture is presented, followed by a discussion of several alternatives for writing sign languages and how these alternatives have been used and/or adopted. Sign languages in most parts of the world compete with spoken languages (languages that have established written traditions), resulting in diglossia. Though many scholars who work with the deaf community have tried to develop ways to write sign language(s), many Deaf do not feel the need for a writing system, either because they use video media or because they see writing as best done in the dominant language in their diglossic situation.

About the article

Published Online: 2008-07-09

Published in Print: 2008-07-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/IJSL.2008.036. Export Citation

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