Anthro: “Reversing Missionization: The Result of Language Contact in the Deaf Community of Eritrea”

MA candidate Rezent Moges will report on her ethnographic research and thesis project: “Reversing Missionization: The Result of Language Contact in the Deaf Community of Eritrea”. Abstract: A common result of language contact in the deaf communities in Africa is missionization, which is the importation of a sign language that was used and taught by foreign missionaries.  This lecture focuses on the attempt of language purism of a missionized sign language in Eritrea, which was heavily borrowed from two dominant foreign languages: Finnish and Swedish sign languages.  Some analyses will examine the process of producing Eritrea’s first dictionary of their sign language and excising foreign elements in Eritrean Sign Language.  A preview of lexicography will compare Finnish and Eritrean signs—to describe how massive borrowings have influenced the Eritrean deaf community.  Finally, the ideology of this language purism will synthesize the discussions about the historical impact of missionization and epistemology in Eritrean deaf community.  This case represents a new method of linguistic purism that is reversing the result of language contact of missionization. This is the final Anthropology brown bag of this semester.