Unraveling the grammars of European sign languages: pathways to full citizenship of deaf signers and to the protection of their linguistic heritage (COST Action)

Language policies for signing deaf Europeans require reliable reference grammars of their sign languages (SLs), which are generally lacking or of limited validity if they exist. They constitute the basis for teaching and training purposes. In addition, descriptive grammars are essential for the documentation of a European linguistic and cultural heritage which is largely unrecognized to date. Making SL grammars available to signing communities, policy makers, linguists and to civil society in general will strengthen the status of SLs and support full participation of their users in society. In parallel, deepening the knowledge on SL grammars with a theoretically informed comparative approach will contribute to the characterization of the human faculty of language, whose study is severely biased towards spoken languages. In this way, empirical and theoretical results from SLs will have an impact on several domains of the current agenda of Cognitive Sciences. This COST Action aims to develop the first European network to design a blueprint for those reference grammars, which are indispensable tools.

COST participants:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Norway
  • Turkey