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Is the right to sign language only the right to a minority language? Holding a capability (not a disability) approach, and building on the psycholinguistic literature on sign language acquisition, Sara Trovato makes the point that this right is of a stronger nature: only sign languages can guarantee that each deaf child will properly develop the linguistic and cognitive potentialities with whom (s)he is endowed at birth. Within this perspective, the right to sign language is also the right to the integrity of the person.
This article has appeared on Sign Language Studies and can be cited as follows: Sara Trovato (2013) “A stronger reason for the right to sign languages”, Sign Language Studies, Volume 13, 3, pp 401-422.
The article is published online with permission by Gallaudet University Press.
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(Head picture: © Avi Kovacevich – A page from a 1963 instructional book about American Sign Language)
Sara Trovato earned her PhD in Philosophie et Lettres in 2000 from Université Catholique de Louvain. She has published both theoretical and empirical papers dedicated to the right to Sign Languages, deaf children in kindergartens, deaf integration in a sociological perspective. Together with Sonia Sorgato, Lisa Pavesi, Laura Pagani, Emilia Filz, Chiara Branchini, Ilaria Prigione, she authored Corso di italiano per chi non sente (e per i suoi compagni udenti) (2013, Milano: Raffaello Cortina), the first book of Italian for deaf students over 11 years of age. She also published Insegno in segni. Didattica e acquisizione dell’italiano per studenti sordi (2014, Milano: Raffaello Cortina). She presently teaches at Università di Milano Bicocca.