Toponyms in Ban Khor Sign Language

lcj-16Angela M. Nonaka

LCJ: Special Edition: Indigneous Sign Languages, 16, pp. 66-91

View full text (pdf 1.1mb)

Nonaka, A.M. (2015). Toponyms in Ban Khor Sign Language. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Indigenous Sign Languages], 16, 66-91. DOI:



Ban Khor Sign Language (BKSL) is a rare language variety known as a ‘village’ (Zeshan 2004) or ‘indigenous’ (Woodward 2000) sign language. This type of sign language develops in small face-to-face communities where historically there are/were: 1) demographically significant  numbers of deaf people in the population; 2) high degrees of real or fictive kin relatedness among community members; 3) low levels of educational differentiation between deaf and hearing residents; 4) non-industrial, labor-intensive local economies; and 5) low degrees of occupational differentiation between deaf and hearing villagers. The most striking characteristics of the language ecologies of signing village communities, however, involve their local language ideologies and practices. In such communities, there are no sign language interpreters. Instead, it is common not only for deaf people but also for hearing residents to acquire and use the village sign language. Because it is widely used by both deaf and hearing people in the course of everyday life, the village sign language facilitates the inclusion (vs. exclusion) of deaf members of the community.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under CC BY-SA