Final document for the project “Steps towards an improvement in the participation of deaf persons in the information society”. Supplement : Presentations of the Klagenfurt workshop
Flemish Sign Language, Sign Linguistics, signing books
Linguistic research on Flemish-Belgian Sign Language is still in its infancy: it was not until 1990 that it became possible to set up a larger-scale research project and so far there has been -and still is- only one full-time sign linguist studying the language. (Fortunately, for about one year now, Diane Boonen, a Deaf near-native signer herself, has been participating in the research project!) From the onset of the linguistic research on Flemish-Belgian Sign Language it has been felt that it was -and is- very important to make the results of the research as (easily) accessible as possible, to both hearing and Deaf people. One of the reasons for this is of course that information on the grammar of the language is necessary for all those learning/teaching the language. Another reason lies with the low status of sign languages: many people -including many Deaf signers- still do not (fully) realise that Flemish-Belgian Sign Language is indeed a fully fledged, natural language and we think that a better knowledge of the structure of the language may contribute to changing this. In this presentation we would like to comment on the ways the results from Flemish-Belgian Sign Language research are made public. We would especially like to talk about how we try to inform Deaf signers; a process involving the collaboration of a Deaf near-native signer in the research project and the translation of the results to Flemish-Belgian Sign Language (i.e. the making of a "video-book").