Monday January 20, 2020

Signs of the times: The evolution of Irish Sign Language

Like any language, Irish Sign Language is constantly evolving – as indeed it must. Sarah Taaffe-Maguire hears about DCU’s glossary project, which will allow greater deaf participation in science conversations and careers

13th October, 2019
Denise Dowling, a deaf teacher at Bishopstown Community School in Cork Pic: Cathal Noonan

How would you visually represent the maths concept of standard deviation? If you used your hands to communicate, how would you convey a cell particle – let’s say, mitochondria? It’s not a hypothetical question. Every day, deaf teachers and scientists must determine how to get their point across through the body language, expression and hand movements that make up Irish Sign Language (ISL).

Scientific terminology has yet to be codified in...

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