Creating and Contesting Signs in Contemporary Japan:
Language Ideologies, Identity and Community in Flux

Karen Nakamura
Assistant Prof. of Anthropology and East Asian Studies
Yale University


Scheduled to be published in Volume 7 Number 1 (Fall 2006) of Sign Language Studies.


Abstract: Japanese Sign Language (JSL) is in a moment of flux and transition as various elements within and outside the deaf community contest the creation of new terms into the lexicon and the structure of its grammatical system. The older generation represented by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf is trying to create new terms in order to compete with the national public television service at the same time as it is fending off criticisms from younger, cultural deaf members. This article examines the language ideologies present in this complex situation. Keywords: language ideology, Japanese Sign Language (JSL), generational change.