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‘Connected World’ with Theresia Hofer

In this video, Theresia Hofer talks about the case of Tibetan Sign Language, and how it highlights ideas of global citizenship and disability rights.

As you have just been exploring, language is one way to forge national identity and belonging. In this section, we explore a case study of when a minority language, and people’s local heritage, is being threatened by global and national directives and actions.

In this video, Dr Theresia Hofer talks about her work with people using Tibetan Sign Language. This emerging language presents an example of a situation where national or global initiatives actually endanger the local heritage and language, as the provision of Chinese Sign Language at a state level (in response to global directives on disability rights) is endangering the emerging Tibetan Sign Language.

As you watch, consider your thoughts on these questions:

  • Is there a danger that as we aim for a global citizenship, we miss the importance of people’s connections to their particular surroundings, and their local social and cultural practices?

  • Can you think of other examples where international regulations or standards are perhaps too rigid or ‘top down’ to allow for local variation and individual need?

  • What other endangered languages do you know of?

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