The Uruguayan Deaf Community

Statement of Responsibility:
Parks, Elizabeth and Holly Williams

The Uruguayan deaf community appears to use a single sign language, Uruguayan Sign Language (Lengua de Señas Uruguaya [LSU]), although there is some variation in its use throughout the country. Sources point to geographical region and age being sociolinguistic variables impacting language use. Linguistic research of LSU began in the 1980s and, with significant legal support from the Uruguayan government, research and documentation of LSU has been pursued for the last several decades. Sign language dictionaries have been created with hopes of continuing standardization of LSU and increasing its prestige throughout Uruguay. Although there is much that remains to be done to create an environment of total access, community development for the Uruguayan deaf community appears to be moving in a positive direction and has been underway since the founding of the first deaf association in 1928. In Montevideo, the Uruguay Deaf Association (Asociación de Sordos del Uruguay [ASUR]) and Center for the Investigation and Development of Deaf People (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Persona Sorda [CINDE]) are effectively bringing the deaf community together and training interpreters to meet ongoing educational and social access needs throughout Uruguay. Future community development work is focused on increasing access to interpreters in university and health care settings, as well as creating an atmosphere where deaf Uruguayans have equal employment opportunities that capitalize on their individual skills and training.

11 pages
Sign language survey
Language surveys
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