Czech Sign Language in contemporary Czech society

Eva Filippová 1  and Andrea Hudáková 1
  • 1 Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Eva Filippová and Andrea Hudáková

Abstract

Czech Sign Language (CzSL) is a vital means of communication used in the Czech Deaf community; it constitutes an essential communication tool for a minority population in the Czech sociolinguistic space. The aim of the article is to provide an overview of the usage of CzSL in contemporary Czech society, to sketch a brief history of its formative stages and to list the challenges the Czech Deaf face nowadays. An emphasis is placed on the question of bilingualism of the CzSL users. Our special focus is on the questions of language socialization and social-cognitive development, as the early years set the stage for a Deaf child’s and the Deaf community’s subsequent advancement. Real world implications for the healthy and uncompromised development resonate throughout the discussion of the Czech education system and the place of the Deaf in it. CzSL represents an irrefutable part of the identity of the Czech Deaf population and, as such, merits a critical consideration in the context of the minority languages in the present day Czech society.

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IJSL is dedicated to the development of the sociology of language as a truly international and interdisciplinary field in which various approaches - theoretical and empirical - supplement and complement each other, contributing thereby to the growth of language-related knowledge, applications, values and sensitivities. The journal features topically-focused issues with individual contributions on small languages and small language communities.

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