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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter we consider linguistic ideologies and deaf people’s attitudes toward Flemish Sign Language (VGT). First, we review the major historical steps with respect to the status of VGT. In this historical evolution, it can be shown that VGT has developed from complete erasure (Irvine and Gal, 2000) via implicit recognition within the VGT linguistic minority community to legal recognition by Flemish Parliament. This has gone hand in hand with changing attitudes within the Deaf community toward the status of VGT. Indeed, the 2006 recognition has unmistakably had an empowering effect in the Flemish Deaf community, even though the actual knowledge of the contents of the recognition decree may be rather meager. At the same time, new indications of erasure can be exposed in Flanders, which are leading to serious concerns within the Flemish Deaf community about the future of VGT and the community in which it is used.

Keywords: Flemish Sign Language, VGT, linguistic ideologies, language attitudes, recognition of sign languages, linguistic erasure

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