Hawai'i sign language documented as a distinct, stand-alone language. | ABC Radio Australia

Hawai'i sign language documented as a distinct, stand-alone language.

Hawai'i sign language documented as a distinct, stand-alone language.

Updated 7 March 2013, 16:18 AEDT

Just like with spoken languages, there are different variations of sign language.  In Australia, its Auslan, and in America, it's American Sign Language, or ASL.

But in one American state, there's another distinct type of sign language, which unitl very recently was undocumented.  

It's called Hawai'i Sign Language (HSL) and it's the indigenous language of deaf people in Hawai'i.  

Thanks to work done by  research group based in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, HSL has now been formally recognised as a unique language of its own, and efforts are underway to record and conserve it.

Presenter:  Heather Jarvis

Speaker:    Dr James Woodward, Co-Director of the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
 
You can watch a video comparing HSL and ASL here.  The person on the left is signing using ASL and Linda Lambrecht is demonstrating HSL.
 
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