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Language socialization in deaf families in Africa

Across cultures, parents help their children master the social and linguistic codes needed in adult life. Recent research on language socialization found important cross-cultural differences, pointing out the need for more diversity for a full understanding of this process.

Deaf communities form unique subcultures with their own language, distinct from the mainstream culture. This project is the first large-scale, cross-cultural comparison in this domain. Deaf and hearing researchers will chart the language socialization of children of deaf adults in five African countries, comparing a) responsiveness and reciprocity in interactions and b) language socialization. We will compile an annotated, searchable database that can serve other researchers too. The project will shed new light on cross-cultural patterns in language socialization. Furthermore, it will create awareness about the situation of deaf parents and their children, and provide new opportunities for the academic development of talented deaf people in Africa.

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