Sign Language is a natural communication system that has been evolving for two hundred years. It defines the identity and culture of the Polish deaf. However, it is often marginalized and ignored. It took him decades to undergo a thorough linguistic analysis. Scientists from the Warsaw University Sign Linguistics Laboratory were subjected to systematic research.
Dr Paweł Rutkowski is the founder of the Sign Linguistics Laboratory at the University of Warsaw. He specializes in natural language syntax research, with a focus on Polish Sign Language. Author or co-author of over one hundred scientific articles and textbooks. He has done internships, incl. at Yale University, Wayne State University, Oxford. Member of the Polish Sign Language Council at the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy.
Imagine being born in a community where everyone around us communicates in a language we don’t understand. Also, something that we are unable to experience with our senses. We also imagine that, despite this, everyone around us expects us to learn this language, so that our life is “easier” and that we can “normally” function in society. So we wouldn’t be different. In this way, with great simplification, it is possible to describe the problems that afflict the Deaf in Poland. Note: deaf, not deaf.
he selection of the capital letter and the word is not accidental here. While many hearing people perceive the word deaf as neutral, the Deaf themselves want to be seen through the prism of what they are, not what they are NOT. Therefore, they don’t want to be called Deaf, just like Poles don’t want to be called NON-Germans, and men – NON-women. The capital letter in the word Głuchy should indicate such an understanding of deafness in which it is a determinant of cultural and linguistic identity (analogous to the names Silesians or Kashubians), and not a stigmatizing disability.