December 9, 2012

Article: Pushing Science’s Limits in Sign Language Lexicon


Pushing Science’s Limits in Sign Language Lexicon
December 3, 2012

Imagine trying to learn biology without ever using the word “organism.” Or studying to become a botanist when the only way of referring to photosynthesis is to spell the word out, letter by painstaking letter.

For deaf students, this game of scientific Password has long been the daily classroom and laboratory experience. Words like “organism” and “photosynthesis” — to say nothing of more obscure and harder-to-spell terms — have no single widely accepted equivalent in sign language.

 Now thanks to the Internet — particularly the boom in online video — resources for deaf students seeking science-related signs are easier to find and share. Crowdsourcing projects in both American Sign Language and British Sign Language are under way at several universities, enabling people who are deaf to coalesce around signs for commonly used terms.

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