Family Language Policy for Deaf Children and the Vitality of New Zealand Sign Language

Author: 
McKEE, Rachel; SMILER, Kirsten

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Description: 

The situation of a family with a deaf 1 child differs from other FLP contexts in several ways: language considerations are usually imposed unexpectedly, the main priority is ensuring development of a language, and institutional interventions feature heavily in decision making. But there are also parallels: except for the small proportion of families in which deafness and signed language (SL) are part of family heritage, parents of a deaf baby face disruption to transmission of language and identity. The realisation that a deaf baby will not automatically acquire the spoken language of their home and community pushes parents into time-critical decisions about how to facilitate perceptual access to first-language acquisition: through eyes, ears, or both? As in other FLP situations, family values about desirable language identities must be explicitly contemplated in socialising a deaf child; first-language choice is intertwined with decisions about schooling and peer group, and communication practices within the family must be deliberately modified and managed.

En: John Macalister & Seyed Hadi Mirvahedi (eds.), Family language policies in a multilingual world, pp. 30–55. 

Publisher: 
London: Routledge, 2017

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