A sociolinguistic survey report of the Dominican Republic Deaf community

Statement of Responsibility:
Williams, Holly and Elizabeth Parks

This survey investigated the sociolinguistic situation of the Dominican Deaf community, researching factors such as ethnolinguistic identity, language use, language vitality, and language attitudes. After two months of Internet and library research, three researchers collected data in seven different Dominican Republic cities over a period of 3 weeks. This paper reports data collected during fieldwork through sociolinguistic questionnaires and participant observation. Results indicate that Deaf Dominicans recognize themselves as a distinct ethnolinguistic community. Deaf Dominican attitudes toward American Sign Language (ASL) are mixed, but there is evidence that they are moving toward distinguishing Dominican Sign Language (LSD) from ASL. Given opportunity, they would like to see the development of LSD, increased Spanish literacy, more support from the government and hearing parents, better educational and employment opportunities, and increased access to interpreter services.

20 pages
Language surveys
Dominican Republic
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