Wednesday Seminar: Legal recognition of signed languages in Norway and Sweden

Hilde Haualand, an associate professor in social anthropology, specializing in deaf studies at the Oslo Metropolitan University, will give a talk on legal recognition of signed languages.

The presentation discusses the different contexts of the legal recognition accorded to signed languages in Sweden and Norway. Factors other than formal legislation seem to be more influential when the status of signed languages and signed language ideologies are discussed in the two countries. By comparing the legal recognition of Swedish Sign Language (SSL) and Norwegian Sign Language (NTS), and language planning activities in the two countries, it seems that NTS has enjoyed a stronger legal status as compared to SSL for two decades, but that legal recognition is not necessarily reflected in how people discuss the status of a specific signed language. This somewhat contradicts the story about Sweden as the first country in the world that accorded recognition to deaf peoples’ bilingualism and as a haven for people who use signed language. The paper presents a short history of the milestones in legislation (and the official recognition status) of signed languages in Sweden and Norway, and highlights some similarities and differences. Data focused upon include written documents like legal texts, deaf associations’ periodicals, etc. and interviews with former activists in the deaf communities in Norway and Sweden. 


Note! The talk will be in Norwegian sign language, and will be interpreted into Norwegian.

NB! Innlegget holdes på norsk tegnspråk og tolkes til norsk.


Leena Maria Heikkola and Jessica Pedersen Belisle Hansen
Published Nov. 26, 2018 10:11 AM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2019 3:58 PM