Second Biennial Workshop on Language Diversity in Educational Settings 2020: Making a change through sign language.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific committee had to adapt the initial arrangements for this workshop. We decided to host this workshop as a hybrid one with regards to physical and virtual attendance. The LDESW 2020 will be hosted in Clarens on 19 to 20 November 2020. Those who can attend the workshop in Clarens will be encouraged to do so, and those who are unable to travel to Clarens can join the workshop on the virtual platform. Therefore, the scientific committee decided to reopen the Call for Papers, and the new deadline can be seen below.

The Department of South African Sign Language and Deaf Studies (SASLDS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), is pleased to announce the second biennial workshop on language diversity. Inspiration for the LDESW 2020 theme stems from our notion that sign language is an important instrument of language empowerment in both the Deaf community and the broader society, particularly in the education domain.

SASL received significant attention over the last few years. The SASL school curriculum was fully implemented in 2018, with the first Deaf students writing their matric exams on SASL. With this came numerous challenges, questions, and victories. Firstly, the debate on standardisation; secondly, concerns about the readiness of the Department of Education to implement the supplementary curriculum; and thirdly, what this meant for Deaf students in terms of access to higher education institutions. Supplementary to the implementation of the curriculum was the 2017 constitutional review committee recommendation about declaring SASL as the 12th official language of South Africa.

Similar to the story of SASL, parallels can be drawn from the history of other sign languages in various countries. The LDESW 2020 aims to promote research on the significance of signed languages in numerous academic fields, as well as to share international knowledge and expertise for mutual benefit.

Potential subtopics

Only a limited number of papers can be accommodated, as all sessions will be plenary. Abstracts (250 words) can be submitted to at or in the following (but not limited to) categories of research by Tuesday 30 June 2020.

  • SL in the educational setting.
  • Standardisation of SL.
  • Regulation of SL interpreting.
  • Promoting and developing SL in communities/workplace.
  • The role of SL in a bilingual setting, facilitating literacy development.
  • SL as a human right and factors that can assist this right.
  • The implications of more legal recognition for SL.

Keynote speakers

Prof Timothy Reagan (University of Maine, America)
Bruno Pieter Nkosi Druchen (National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa)

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