Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Language and Education

pp 151-166

National Sign Languages and Language Policies

  • Jan BransonAffiliated withNational Institute for Deaf Studies & Sign Language Research, La Trobe University
  • , Don MillerAffiliated withNational Institute for Deaf Studies & Sign Language Research, La Trobe University

Introduction

On 27 June 1999, 4,000 people marched through London in support of British Sign Language (BSL), demanding its recognition as the language of the British Deaf community and asserting the right of Deaf children to be educated in a bilingual environment with BSL as the language of instruction ( Deaf History Journal, 1999). While the British Deaf were marching, the Parliament of Thailand was in the process of formally recognizing Thai Sign Language as a fully fledged language, as the first language of Thai deaf people, and as the language through which Thai deaf people should be educated in a bilingual environment. By late March 2005, the British Deaf community were celebrating the fact that the government had recognized the existence of BSL 1 but were fervent about the need to continue agitating to have BSL legalized so that BSL users ...

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