NISH develops uniform sign language in Malayalam for hearing impaired

Comprehending Malayalam words through lip movement and hand gestures has posed difficulties for hearing impaired people and has often led to miscommunication.

Published: 30th September 2021 06:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2021 06:15 AM   |  A+A-

A sign language expert interprets Social Justice Minister R Bindu’s speech during the release of the first sign language alphabet in Malayalam | Express

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Comprehending Malayalam words through lip movement and hand gestures has posed difficulties for hearing impaired people and has often led to miscommunication.
Now, experts at the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) here have come out with the first uniform sign language alphabet in Malayalam which is expected to bring a qualitative change in the lives of the hearing-impaired. 

The Malayalam alphabet, consisting of vowels and consonants, is finger-spelt in sign language. Its primary phase has been designed exclusively for schools for hearing impaired across the state. The new sign language alphabet in Malayalam will eliminate the challenge of teachers in conveying messages through lip movement. 

“Like other global languages, sign language is an independent language. With the advent of the Malayalam alphabet in sign language, the hearing-impaired will be able to read and write Malayalam,” said K G Satheesh Kumar, Director, Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation, NISH. NISH is planning to incorporate uniform finger-spelling, developed in association with the All Kerala Association for the Deaf, into the curriculum for the hearing impaired. 

Releasing the sign language alphabet here on Wednesday, Social Justice Minister R Bindu said the government would consider its use in special schools. “Discussions will be initiated with the General Education Department regarding the use of the Malayalam alphabet in sign language in special schools across the state,” she said.

 Currently, English and Hindi have alphabets in sign language. The newly developed alphabet in Malayalam will open up immense possibilities for the deaf community, the minister said. Bindu also felicitated sign language experts; and teachers Arun Gopal, Sandeep Krishnan, Sarun Simon and Shinju Soman of NISH. 



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