"A language special for your family."
Sign languages developed by more than one deaf individual within the same family in order to communicate with each other are called “family sign languages”. Compared to home sign, family sign languages are used among deaf and hearing members within a family. Yet, these languages are not passed on to the other members of the society who may not so often come in contact with these people because of their hearing status. Although family sign languages are private systems similar to home sign, they are not individual systems because the same communication mechanism is created and developed by more than one deaf individual.
Figen and Ferhat have grown up as two deaf children of a hearing father and a deaf mother. As the deaf members of the family, they have collectively created a new language which they use to communicate among each other. As of now, many of their family members and close friends understand and use their own family sign language at various proficiency levels. Both making a living by day labor, the siblings greets us very warmly and willingly helped us with our research.
Çiçek Family, who maintains a partially isolated life in a mountainous village of Çukurova, has seven deaf members. The family contains the only deaf population in a village of 320 people, and has its own special sign language used by two generations of signers aged between 41-47 and 22-24. In our September 2020 field trip, we have initiated the documentation of this language for the first time.
The names of the participants in this exhibition are anonymous in order to protect their privacy.