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Department of Deaf Studies

1The Department of Deaf Studies is very young. Splitting off from the Institute of Czech Language and Theory of Communication, it was established on November 1, 2013. It is the only department pursuing the Deaf Studies and the linguistics of sign languages in the Czech Republic. Its scope of expertise and its pedagogical scope are very wide: in addition to linguistics, it covers the Deaf culture and community, history of the Deaf, training and education of the Deaf, interpreting between the Czech Sign Language and Czech + language practice: Czech Sign Language, written Czech for the Deaf, English for the Deaf, providing services for Deaf, hard of hearing and deafened students. A department with such focus and such a wide portfolio of activities is unique not only in the Czech Republic but also in Central Europe.

3The Deaf Studies programme, which is closely linked to the Department’s research activities, is also relatively young. Both the structure of the programme and the Department’s research accentuate the linguistic approach to deafness, pursued nowhere else in the Czech Republic. Inviting, by its very nature, interdisciplinary approaches and contrastive perspectives, the main spheres of the Department’s research interest may be roughly defined as follows:

  • specifics of the culture, linguistic and communication situation of the Czech Deaf
  •  Czech Sign Language, its structure and functioning
  • written Czech of the Czech Deaf
  • Czech in training and education of hearing-impaired children and young people (esp. the Deaf)
  • interpreting between the Czech Sign Language and Czech

Within these spheres, both theoretical approaches (structural, communication, cognitive) and applied research (esp. in the fields of education of Deaf children and interpreting) are pursued. A significant part of the Department’s activities is working with the public: with the Deaf community itself, with experts (esp. teachers of the Deaf), with the academic community and the general lay public.

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