All you need to know about Chinese sign language
Sign languages are a format of communication that makes use of various hand and facial signs to convey meanings and communicate effectively. These languages are generally a combination of manual articulation with several non-manual elements as well. Even though all the sign languages might seem to be similar, it is impressive to know that every sign language has a lexicon and grammar of its own. Known to be the hardest language to master in the entire world, Chinese has a similar counterpart in the sign language as well. The language has been successful in raising the living standards of the deaf community. The community believes that their language is given a low priority when compared to all other mother tongues. Online campaigns that call for attention towards this great skill have been on the rise recently. Read on further to understand the plights of the deaf community in China and various measures to increase the awareness about Chinese sign language.
Learning Chinese sign language
Chinese is considered one of the most robust languages in the world. With over a thousand characters and more than four different tones, the differences in the language can be visibly minuscule but can vary entirely in the interpretation. The sounds that give the language its entirety is very difficult to be scripted into a sign language. This makes it essential to have a standardized sign language and to have an improved accessibility. Here is a look at how popular the Chinese sign language is and the measures that are taken to widen its reach.
Chinese Sign language has a tradition that dates back to the early centuries when Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled. Old scriptures are laden with several anecdotes mentioning the existence of a sign language among the deaf community. According to historians, the biography of Xuan Ding has an instance that describes how a deaf person communicates with other people using hand signals and facial expressions to convey about his mother’s illness.
Modern language attributes the origin of CSL to the Presbyterian missionary Annetta Thompson Mills, who is regarded as the developer of Chinese sign language who set up a deaf school in China in the late 1880s. Chinese sign language also has its origin credited to another organization based in Shanghai. The language is a combination of hand and finger signals mixed with emotional expressions that convey every word and their meanings. The language is very similar to British Sign languages that are very popularly shown along with the news narration. The broader acceptance of Chinese sign language led to the process of standardization in 1958 with the setting up of a Sign Language reform committee. The reforms introduced a standard two signs for a two-syllable word, as these signs are based on spoken language, and the correct interpretation is essential for expressing the concept.
Chinese sign language has come a long way since its standardization in the late 1950s. Deaf curriculum and Chinese sign language have aided the release of a standardized book for independent studies in schools and organizations across China. As the world is moving forward with the latest technologies, the requests for sign language classes online is gaining prominence. Several campaigns demanding the utilization of the internet as a teaching platform is at an all-time high.
Sign languages and online exposure
Lack of exposure to CSL has been a significant problem in previous decades. The foray of social media platforms and blog practices has been a boon to the field, as many have taken up these platforms to increase awareness about sign languages. The broad acceptance of online platforms like online videos by the deaf community is a welcome sign of extensive exposure to sign languages.
A significant challenge faced by the sign languages in China is the existence of different types of dialects for Chinese sign languages. However, more online exposures are sure to end these problems as increased participation would encourage a standard practice to be followed. Several online campaigns are also encouraging people with no disabilities to learn sign languages and help making communication with the deaf much easier.
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