Center for Sign Language and Deaf Communication

The University of Klagenfurt is located in the southern part of Austria, in the province of Carinthia. Scientific research into sign language started in Austria in 1990. The Center for Sign Language and Deaf Communication started out as a project in 1992. On December 18, 1996 the university founded the “Research Center for Sign Language and Communication of the Hearing-Impaired” as a subdepartment of the Department of Linguistics. Renamed “Center for Sign Language and Deaf Communication”, the center became a Special University Department in 2004. There are currently 11 collaborators (5 deaf, one hard-of-hearing and 5 hearing).

The main fields of work are:

  • Research: Austrian and other sign languages, situation of the deaf and hard-of-hearing persons
  • Education: production of course materials for written German, English and Austrian Sign Language courses
  • Multimedia Production: Austrian Sign Language CD-ROMs, On-line Lexicon of Austrian Sign Language, Multimedia courses
  • (Political) Initiatives: Deaf Education, Measures following the recognition of Austrian Sign Language
  • Publications and teaching materials
  • Participation in national and EU-projects

ZGH aims at improving the situation of deaf and hard of hearing people concerning education and job chances. It has experiences in

1) sign language teaching and research

  • sign language courses,
  • Grammar of OEGS = Austrian Sign Language,
  • CD-ROM containing Course I for beginners of OEGS
  • On-line Sign Language Database
  • Collaboration with the Austrian Deaf Association on Standardisation etc. (Commission on Austrian Sign Language)
  • Curriculum for the education of deaf sign language teachers;
  • OEGS for primary school

2) deaf (and hard of hearing) user needs

  • Concept for an Austrian Relay Service for people with handicaps in hearing and speaking;
  • Collaboration with technicians in constructing software;
  • Delivery of a needs analysis for the inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing people
  • deaf education concerning

3) 3a) written language

  • coordinating institution of the Socrates Lingua 2 projects “SignOn!” 2004-07, SignOnOne 2008-10
  • partner in various EU-funded projects

3b) computer skills for the deaf

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