Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Codifying SASL: An overview of Research and the Way Forward - Naomi Janse van Vuuren & Lorato Rasebopye

Currently there is a conversation happening with the SA government on the SASL as a school object. This was also discussed in 2009 in SA parliament. Often the question is raised what is SASL exactly and what does it look like. This calls for the need to have SASL codified, so we can show the structure of SASL and other aspect.

In the presentation a very detailed overview of the SASL research of the past 25 years is given. The research is grouped by the different categories, such as morphological, lexical, syntax, etc. The current research (Fourie, 2011) is done on the  variation and standardization in sign languages & lexicographical model for a school dictionary.

In the second part of the presentation it was presented that there are 1.609.386 Deaf South Africans (Heap, 2003). The presenter works at (...) university at the SASL department where she works with three other deaf teachers.  There are five universities who conduct research on SASL in SA: Free State, Witwaterstand, (...)

There are some small pilot studies now carried out. In one project a comparisson is made of the construction of SASL, BSL, and AUSLAN. Until today only two publications published on SASL. In the current research we focus on the syntax of SASL and look if there is diversity in terms of school language policies. In addition, we will also look at oralism versus signing. Another area we are looking at phonology, and how we can develop new classifier handshapes in SASL, since currently we copy these mostly from other sign languages. We also would like to look at the lexicography and develop an electronic database. The presenter gives examples of signs that were copied from other sign languages, but are now newly being used which have no relation to other sign languages.

The presenter states that the Deaf SASL users are and will be involved in this research. In addition, we must collaborate in SA to undergo this development and research of SASL.

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