Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Interculturality and Education Sciences in Chilean Sign Language: The Body as Culture's Memory

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Interculturality and Education Sciences in Chilean Sign Language: The Body as Culture's Memory

Article excerpt


The deaf persons education generates opposing views among supporters and those who defend the deaf persons rights to participate in an intercultural society. The arguments from each other generate several historic problems that will be analyzed in light from theoretical concepts in Psychology, Linguistics and Education.

To Ladd (2003), the deaf community cover to "those deaf persons, with auditive difficult, share a common experiences and language, values and the interaction with listeners". This Deaf Community concept introduces the notion of deaf and listeners interaction understood from a symmetrical and horizontal communication between both cultures, opening a better way improve intercultural education.

Key words: Sign language; Deaf culture; Interculturality; Education; Psychology; Linguistic; Cognitive


In general terms, the education of the Deaf, generates opposite opinions, between whose partake to a medical model of the disability and those that defend the right of a deaf person to participate in an intercultural society.

Being deaf is more that the simple notion of loss of hearing, as it includes the idea of a different way to comprehensive and conceptualize the world, by its culture and particular communication type: Sign Language. For Ladd (2003) the Deaf community includes "deaf persons and those with hearing impediment that share a common language, experiences and values and a common way of interacting between themselves and the Hearing". This approximation to the concept of a deaf community introduces the notion of an interaction of deaf with the Hearing. It proposes that this interaction, understood from a symmetric and horizontal communication in both cultures, provides a road to better conditions in diverse areas of the Deaf culture, especially in intercultural education.

Culture and deaf communities exist from early ages, and have been associated from the beginning to the hegemonic cultures in diverse grades. Nevertheless, with the course of the time, shades have been taking that constitutes in varied models of approach and levels of discrimination or assimilation. For the reasons that will be exposed in this article, each of these approaches, have been generated from the orality of the hegemonic culture. And it is most likely they have not considered the Deaf perspective and the Signs language in his investigation.

The present reflection proposes an analysis from the Chilean Language of Signs, emphasizing on one hand its relevancy as a fundamental tool of the Deaf culture and on the other hand, as an Intercultural tool of communication with the hegemonic culture. The principle that supports the interaction between both cultures would be associated with the actual come from the Linguistics and the Cognitive Psychology, with the proposal of Embodied Cognition.

For this purpose, it is emphasized that the body is the articulator axis of the reasoning and of the language in a search of debunking of the same one as an irrational category. It is proposed that deepening the matter of Embodied Cognition as present element in sign language and that might be a key to interaction with the Hearing


The Secondary studies of the Deaf have been marked by attempts of reconstructing its history. Among them, Ladd (2003) has described some relevant stages that later affected the modem conception of the Deaf.

Of the predominant speeches in the history of the Deaf one stands out the Christian early speech, which marked the anteroom for development in time in the Oral Model. Thanks to this speech (widely accepted by the hegemonic culture), there was a strenghthening of Christian Institutions of Boarding schools for the Deaf. His object was "oralization" of the Deaf, understood as the formal education of spoken communication. Ladd (2003) exposes the arguments of the era in Balestra's words: "We all are children of the only Christ who gave to us his example . …

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