Exploring the History and Diversity of Caribbean Sign Languages with Kris M. Ali

Strictly Facts: A Guide to Caribbean History and Culture

Apr 3 2024 • 38 mins

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The Caribbean is a region of a myriad of languages, Caribbean sign languages included. In this episode, we’re joined by Caribbean sign language scholar Kris M Ali to discuss the diversity of sign languages, from the shores of Jamaica to the Bay Islands. It's not just about communication; it's a tapestry of identity, history, and resiliency. We uncover the challenges faced by lesser-known sign languages and the potential harm of a one-size-fits-all approach to language policy. Our conversation traverses the cultural significance behind these languages, the vibrant activism of local communities that has sparked change, the battles for legal recognition, and the power these languages hold in fostering rights for the Deaf community. Join us for our first discussion and stay tuned for Part II coming soon. Be sure to check out the transcript of this episode here.

Kris Ali is a PhD candidate in the department of linguistics at University of California Santa Barbara. Her research interests are broadly Caribbean languages, language documentation and description, social and linguistic justice for Caribbean people, decolonial theory, queer and trans linguistics and sign language linguistics. She uses collaborative and community-based research methods, is interested in indigenous research methodologies and follows the Caribbean tradition of liberatory linguistics in which she was trained during her first two degrees at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She is a trained Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language interpreter. Home for her is Trinidad and Tobago. Learn more about Kris on her website and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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