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Deaf Studies professor named to Norwegian commission

August 20, 2021

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Dr. Joseph Murray, a professor in the Deaf Studies program, has been appointed to an official commission to study the situation of Norwegian Sign Language and write a Norwegian Official Report, a cross-sector plan of action for successive Norwegian governments with regard to Norwegian Sign Language.

This commission emerges from the Language Act, the March 2021 recognition of Norwegian Sign Language as the country’s national sign language by the Storting, Norway’s supreme legislature. The Language Act stipulates that Norwegian sign language is linguistically and culturally equivalent to Norwegian and that public bodies shall promote Norwegian sign language.

According to Murray, “The Commission will lay out a road map for the government’s policies for Norwegian sign language for the next few decades. This is a two-year, unpaid appointment that consists of monthly meetings and virtual work in between.”  

The commission has ten members, six of whom are deaf, and has broad expertise in law, interest politics, linguistics, pedagogy, interpreting and deaf studies. It is chaired by Dr. Hilde Haualand, a professor at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet). 

The commission is tasked with reviewing legislation, schemes, and measures that include Norwegian sign language. It shall summarize available knowledge of how different regulations that ensure the use of sign language work in practice. The committee will also gather new knowledge about what the main challenges are when it comes to access to sign language and how these challenges affect different areas of life. It will also provide input to measures and schemes that can increase access to Norwegian sign language.

The commission’s report is due on June 1, 2023.

Dr. Murray is also president of the World Federation of the Deaf. 

Congratulations to Dr. Murray!

20 August 2021

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