This will help the hearing impaired to communicate easily

The Central Government must recognise sign language as a national language, demanded Swami Anuragananda, Assistant Administrative Head, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, at a function held on Sunday at the University's Faculty of Disability Management and Special Education.

By providing support, the Government would be able to develop sign language and thereby help the hearing impaired.

Just as the government had started pumping in money for the development of Tamil after declaring it a classical language, it would be able to do the same for sign language.

Two people from different cultures could easily communicate with one another provided they knew sign language. The same could not be said of the people if they were to use a language. The Swami said sign language was easy to learn, though it had too many variations. “It is a more natural form of expression and uses face and hands.”

The government must initiate efforts to teach the sign language to even the partially hearing impaired, said Jamal Ali, General Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Federation of the Deaf.

The Government must not stop with that alone, though. It should ensure that the language was taught at schools and to policemen, advocates and government employees. “If it does so then there will not be any problem in communication.”

Athreyaa Sharma, Senior Lecturer-cum-Junior Research Officer, Linguistic Data Consortium for Indian Languages at the Central Institute for Indian Languages, Mysore, said the Institute was working towards standardising an Indian Sign Language (ISL).

This was part of the consortium's efforts to build corpus for Indian languages.

The problem with standardising ISL was that various institutions were working on it without networking with one another.

All those efforts must be channelised towards building an ISL. She suggested that there should be an official ISL and a home sign language just as people used formal language to address a gathering.