Kerala

Malayalam gets its own sign language alphabet

Malayalam has finally got its own sign language alphabet. The National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) has come up with uniform sign language characters in the Malayalam alphabet using fingerspelling.

The lack of a sign language alphabet in Malayalam has been a challenge for teachers in schools for the hearing impaired. English and Hindi have their own sign language. At present, schools mostly rely on lip movement to get the message across. When words have to be written, these are written on students’ hands or traced in air. When tracing in air, confusions are common.

In many places, this problem is overcome by devising own alphabets. Common characters will help many such problems, a statement here said.

Teachers and students at NISH, under the supervision of sign language experts there, have come up with the fingerspelling, which covers vowels and consonants too. It is not common for users to come up with the characters.

NISH intends to incorporate the uniform fingerspelling into the curriculum for the hearing impaired with the support of the State Council of Educational Research and Training.

Minister for Social Justice R. Bindu will release the alphabet at a function at the Institute of Management in Government at 11 a.m. on Wednesday to mark International Week of the Deaf that is observed in the last week of September.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:07:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/malayalam-gets-its-own-sign-language-alphabet/article36717988.ece

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