Human rights are universal and they belong to everyone regardless of sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status such as disability or deafness. This disposition of the WFD is based on the fact that deaf people are often stripped of their rights, including human rights. In most cases, social barriers and linguistic prejudice prevent deaf people from accessing and enjoying their rights.
Undoubtedly, all human rights are linked to language and, therefore, linguistic human rights are fundamental to the enjoyment of civil, social, political, economic and cultural human rights. These factors are based and focus on the recognition and use of sign language as a first language or in this case, the mother tongue of the deaf. Therefore, dealing with the guarantee of human rights for deaf people means speaking about linguistic human rights. According to Skutnabb-Kangas; Phillipson and Rannut , p. The outlook these theorists have on presentation, setting and context of linguistic human rights brings human rights and languages inseparably close.
This is a central aspect when addressing minority groups, which are often socially excluded because of their linguistic and cultural differences. Linguistic majorities, speakers of a dominant language, usually enjoy all those linguistic human rights, which can be seen as fundamental, regardless of how they are defined. Most linguistic minorities in the world do not enjoy these rights. It is only a few hundred of the world's , languages that have any kind of official status and it is only speakers of official languages who enjoy all linguistic human rights Skutnabb-Kangas; Phillipson; Rannut, , p.
This perspective, which turns the access and use of language into a fundamental right, is a significant modern-day step forward and nurtures the importance of language policies in today's society. This Declaration was signed by UNESCO and several other non-governmental organizations in order to support and promote linguistic rights.
It is clear that the adoption of a document to ensure linguistic rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , creates an understanding that takes into account both the whole and the various individual aspects, as it acknowledges, values and promotes differences related to linguistic diversity and wealth.
Therefore, language deprivation, linguistic genocide, discrimination and linguistic prejudice have no place in human rights or, more specifically, in linguistic human rights. People who are deprived of LHRs [Linguistic Human Rights] may thereby be prevented from enjoying other human rights, including fair political representation, a fair trial, access to education, access to information and freedom of speech, and maintenance of their cultural heritage Skutnabb-Kangas; Phillipson; Rannut, , p.
There is no doubt that language is a key aspect in the development of an individual. It is clear that language, as a fundamental element of the human condition, allows us to acknowledge ethnicities and groups, and is also an important cognitive component of cultural identification. An individual cannot have access or enjoy his rights without the use of language.
Therefore, the person cannot be deprived of language nor prevented from using his first language, which is an essential part of his thought, humanity, cultural identity etc. Nowadays, it is possible to state that the acknowledgement of linguistic human rights may be considered one of the most important demonstrations of respect for diversity and, therefore, the promotion of equality, since the "lack of linguistic rights often prevents a group from achieving educational, economic and political equality with other groups" Skutnabb-Kangas; Phillipson; Rannut, , p.
Consequently, the promotion of human rights presupposes the guarantee of linguistic human rights. Languages are 'killed off'. Most disappearing languages, including sign languages, are victims of linguistic genocide. One reason why we desperately need Linguistic Human Rights LHRs in education and elsewhere, and why maintenance of all the world's languages is so vital [ The deaf reclaim their linguistic human rights when they profess their acknowledgement and respect for sign language as a core component of their social, cultural, political and academic visibility. Sign language should then obtain legitimacy for social use in all areas, especially within the family and in education.
Added to this is the fact that the deaf meaning those who use sign language and are immersed in the deaf community have the right to circulate in all other language modalities, vocal-auditory or gestural-visual, according to their own wishes or personal interests. Linguistic human rights do not entail the imposition of a language, but the recognition and appreciation of all languages upon the ensured access to a language that can be fully acquired.
In the text entitled The Right of the Deaf Child to Grow up Bilingual, Grosjean lists some key aspects to the development of deaf children, which are marked by the language issue. The researcher Lucinda Ferreira Brito lists some linguistic rights of the deaf, based on individual linguistic rights proposed by Professor Gomes de Matos For her, all deaf people are entitled to: 1 linguistic equality; 2 language acquisition; 3 learning the mother tongue sign language ; 4 using the mother tongue; 5 making a language choice; 6 the preservation and defense of the mother tongue; 7 enrichment and appreciation of the mother tongue; 8 acquiring a second language; 9 full understanding and production; and 10 specialized treatment to learn an oral language.
Thus, as advocated by Brito p. In case of hearing parents, they must provide their deaf children with the possibility of mutual understanding, by learning sign language as soon as they find out their child is deaf"; ii the parents of deaf children have the "[ It is clear that all these proposals for the recognition and respect of linguistic human rights of deaf people converge to the development of language policies that have sign language, a language of gesture-visual modality, as their guiding principle. Therefore, we are led to question the many possible meanings that arise when we define bilingual education as the desirable proposition for the deaf Thoma; Klein, , p.
Although there innumerous differences regarding how to enforce and ensure bilingual education for the deaf, the current discussions still converge to a single point: "the language issue is central, especially for those who do not hear". In fact, one can say that they converge in order to diverge, since the government, the educational institutions, the researchers and the deaf people themselves deal with the language issue in deaf education in a manner that fluctuates a lot, and which many times does not take into account the notion of linguistic human rights.
Hence, it is important to acknowledge that. Among other factors, the Brazilian scenario is characterized by its varied linguistic and cultural relationships. However, these relationships are not established in a peaceful manner; on the contrary, they are established, for example, through social, political, ethical and ideological confrontations. It is clear that a variety of beliefs, intolerances and hostilities have marked the history of linguistic and cultural diversity in our country and still affect language policies today.
According to Rodrigues , p. Therefore, different ways of devising and dealing with the Brazilian linguistic and cultural scenario can be historically seen in laws, decrees and other legal decisions that both preserve and ruin this multiple, diverse and plural character of our nation.
L2 Acquisition in the Deaf Community | Second Language Acquisition
Regardless of these legal decisions having or not a blending character, they interfere with the linguistic scenario of the nation and affect the various groups of speakers of less-valued or less-prestigious languages in Brazil. There are different and distinct realities concerning Brazilian sign languages 6. Until the s, we notice the resistance and struggle of deaf groups for the acceptance and maintenance of sign language. From then on, we can see that these groups have been strengthened and there has been a greater presence of deaf people in education. These factors, bolstered by other social, academic and political elements, have supported the dissemination and visibility of Brazilian sign language in education.
The document includes proposals in the area of human rights, details on the school for the deaf, on special classes for the deaf in places where it is not possible to create schools for them, the relationships between deaf and hearing teachers, thoughts on cultural and social issues of the deaf concerning education, including sign language, curricular proposals, family relationships, and deaf arts. It also includes proposals for training deaf teachers, by establishing the difference between teachers, instructors, monitors and deaf researchers.
There is some tension between attitudes and the movements that keep the deaf away from exercising their citizenship in the name of a so-called inclusion, and those who want to ensure human rights and linguistic human rights not only for the Brazilian deaf, but also to all those who somehow are unable to enjoy them. Thus, the linguistic policies and plans involving the Brazilian deaf, which are defined by, for example, Laws and Decrees, attempt to bring together the fields of rights, languages and policies in order to promote human condition and differences.
The Decree, although officially written by the government, states the desires and demands of the deaf community and alters the status of Libras with regard to its recognition and position in relation to other languages, including Portuguese. The empowerment of the Deaf Community by means of, for example, the recognition of Libras, helps take Deaf Education beyond special education, giving it a central character in Bilingual Education of the deaf and in linguistic and cultural training in our country Rodrigues, , p.
In short, rights, policies and languages in deaf education must contribute to the development of an educational process based on the respect for the other person. Therefore, deaf education must qualify as an education that considers linguistic and cultural diversity to promote a person's normal development at various levels and consequently, the person's active presence in various social spheres. Hence, deaf education needs to rely on "[ Deaf education cannot be viewed and understood as something extraneous to the broader context in which it stands.
This means that deaf education is imbued with the heterogeneity that characterizes mankind and, in turn, the socio-cultural condition. Besides, deaf as an ideal and abstract entity does not exist. Deaf education must be a place where paradigms are shifted; an important place for those who participate, whether deaf or hearing. And in order for this to happen it is necessary to sever the notion that knowledge can be sectioned and fragmented.
It is necessary to overcome the idea that there is a hierarchical classification of content, language or knowledge, based on an assumed importance or supremacy of one over the other. If we understand that the individual is multidimensional, multiple and diverse, we, for example, will understand that education, involving or not the deaf, is a space for reflection, understanding and respect for the other individual and, therefore, for differences.
Thus, human rights must be placed as guiding elements, and linguistic human rights should be viewed as principles. Hence, the development of policies focused on the deaf need to rely on linguistic human rights by recognizing and prioritizing human dignity, which can be grasped as quality of life, social welfare and citizenship. Thus, the language issue, although central, cannot suppress individual freedom or differences, but should recognize, consider and value the access to civil, social and political rights.
This perspective allows that, for example, the contradictions, tensions, paradoxes and inconsistencies in deaf education be addressed altogether, without bypassing specific features or differences.
Language Acquisition by deaf children
Finally, the rights, policies and languages involved in deaf education all converge to the linguistic issue, even if they diverge: reject or not sign language, disregard or not the uniqueness of the deaf. A Era dos Direitos. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, Acesso em: 28 maio Rio de Janeiro: Babel, Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro, Acesso em: 10 jan. Curso de Direito Constitucional. Acesso em: 24 maio Porto Alegre, A Plea for a Language Rights Declaration. Marburg Germany. Sign Language Studies. Campinas: Pontes, Acesso em: 31 maio Eliane Lisboa.
Porto Alegre: Sulina, Cadernos Cedes, Campinas, v. Descolonizar el Saber, Reinventar el Poder. Deaf Gain: raising the stakes for human diversity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Linguistic Human Rights: overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, E-mail: carlos. E-mail: hannafurtado hotmail.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. Services on Demand Journal. Abstract: In this article, while considering education as a complex and diverse phenomenon, we reflect on the fields of human rights and linguistic human rights regarding deaf education. Introduction The field of education is marked and pervaded by the diversity of its audience, of its professionals and of the concepts that are the basis of its everyday existence.
Presenting the Topic Several researches and reflections on deaf education center on the classic approach that illustrates some of the different views that have marked this area of education Lacerda, In reaction to this, we assume that human and language rights are linked to differences, which [ We must also understand that speaking about the rights of the deaf means giving them voice, since [ The Human Rights Field Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of gender, nationality, place of residency, sex, ethnicity, religion, color or and other categorization ONU, The Federation website states: One of the most important priorities in the work of the World Federation of the Deaf WFD is to ensure human rights for Deaf people all over the world, in every aspect of life.
Therefore, [ However, [ Hence, it is important to acknowledge that [ Language Policies and Deaf Education Among other factors, the Brazilian scenario is characterized by its varied linguistic and cultural relationships. However, researches have shown that significant advantages hold only for deaf children with cochlear implants within the first 18 months from birth as age of implantation plays a big part in determining the outcome of the target spoken language 6.
Delays in hearing restoration may result in significant differences. To allow for normal speech and language development, deaf children have to be exposed to audible oral communication 7. Cochlear implant has been proven to have a critical period as well. Deaf children who opted for the implant at a younger age have shown to do better in language performance tasks as compared to those who got it later in life.
Hence that being said, deaf adults like Mandy will definitely face a bigger challenge when it comes to acquiring a spoken language as L2. Brain plasticity changes in early childhood and deteriorates over years 8. Even though the critical hypothesis theory for L2 acquisition has been constantly challenged, adequate researches have concluded that age is a crucial factor in ultimate attainment 9, The proficiency level L1 sign language can cause acquisition differences between deaf individuals.
Spoken languages and sign language have considerable number of similarities in many areas such as usage of brain mapping to remember certain words, syntax, semantic meanings, cognates and etc. This similarity can directly or indirectly impact the acquisition of a spoken language as L2 for L1 signers. Studies conducted showed that L1 signers are capable of using their first language as an advantage to effectively learn a spoken L2 by activating signs when processing written words of a spoken language. As Fromkin mentioned, both sign and spoken languages share the same kind of mental operations Hence, being proficient in one would aid another during the acquisition process, though negative transfers are possible too.
Anna who is more proficient in signing due to having deaf parents, can allow more positive transfer of what is learnt in sign language to the target spoken language 13 , unlike Isabel. With a higher awareness of which signs are dedicated to which words and referents, Anna can take advantage of the brain-mapped icons and phonology before translating them to the target language to allow for cross-language activation In this section, we focus primarily on the impact of having hearing and deaf parents.
Hearing parents have no prior knowledge of sign language. As a result, sign language development is delayed as the child is not exposed to any within the critical period. This then translates to L2 acquisition issues as proficiency of L1 impacts L2 learning. Anna, on the other hand, will face lesser problems with her deaf parents.
Many people have wrongly assumed that deaf children born to deaf parents will lag in language development due to the absence of oral communication.
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However, these children have shown to surpass those with hearing parents in terms of academic performance such as reading, writing and speaking. Deaf parents are able to make language more accessible to their child as compared to hearing parents can They probably identified their hearing loss early in life and are fluent in sign language.
Hence, Anna will potentially learn a spoken language as L2 better than Isabel. Unlike others, Anna and Isabel use a different modality for their language. Sign language is a visual form of language that uses gestures instead of sounds. It has its own syntax and grammar just like any other spoken languages. There are five parameters in sign language, a handshape, b movement, c palm orientation, d location and e non-manual markers.
The signs are done in the signing space, from the top of the head to the waist level The handshape refers to the configuration of your thumb and fingers. The palm orientation refers to the position and direction of your palm. Location refers to where the sign is placed at the signing space. Lastly, non-manual markers refer to facial expressions that are used to further express the intended message. For example, raising your eyebrows to indicate a question marker. The information conveyed could be different with different parameters used Kleiman used a concurrent articulation paradigm to examine the importance of phonological coding for sentence comprehension.
Phonological recoding is the inner speech — voice in our head when we read, especially during silent reading. Therefore, if the primary and secondary tasks rely on the same resources, there would be interference.
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For instance, by asking the participants if the sentences are semantically acceptable while reading out aloud the numbers they hear, they are strongly interfered and elicit a longer response time. This shows that phonological coding is engaged in reading comprehension On average, their reading skills do not surpass the fourth grade. They rely on signs to decode while reading to compensate the lack of phonological coding, as they are not interfered with homophonic words or tongue twisters like hearing community do but sentences with similar signs, also known as hand twister or finger fumbler Anna will face lesser difficulties in L2 acquisition as compared to Isabel who is late learner of sign language Proficiency in L2 for Anna and Isabel focuses on the ability to read and write but not on the auditory input and output Hearing aids like cochlear implants are only suitable for people who have severe hearing loss.
The amplification of sound produces fragmentary auditory information that can cause great discomfort Not all speech sounds are produced with equal duration, frequency and intensity. Hence, some information delivered is likely to be missing. Therefore, this increases the complexity in the acquisition of morphology and syntax due to incomplete information.
For Isabel who is profoundly deaf, the only information that she can hear is low-frequency vowels and consonants as well as some prosodic information 1. In order to lipread, Anna and Isabel have to be very focused at every movement of the lips.