Language attitudes towards Serbian Sign Language and experiences with deaf education in Serbia

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Dragana Raicevic Bajic (Ghent University)

Gordana Nikolic

Mihailo Gordic

Kimberley Mouvet (Ghent University)

Mieke Van Herreweghe (Ghent University)

Published May 17, 2021


In this paper, we report on data obtained from interviews with 28 deaf signers and three hearing teachers of deaf pupils regarding their experiences with and attitudes towards deaf education and Serbian Sign Language (SZJ). Following transcription of the data, we conducted thematic analyses of the deaf informants’ and teachers’ comments. Data, which indicate that a change in language attitudes among deaf people has taken place compared to the oralist ideology still prevalent among teachers, are considered within a broader historical context by giving the first account of SZJ, its place in education and its history. In the light of the results, we highlight the importance of teacher training for promoting a cultural-linguistic minority perspective in deaf education in Serbia that would allow for deafness to be viewed as human diversity rather than disability.

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