Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text

Niyati Keni Poetry in Four Dimensions

Introduction

In the UK, the first records of deaf people using manual signs to communicate date back to the sixteenth century. However, as signers were often geographically scattered, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century, when residential missions for the deaf brought them together in significant numbers, that a national Sign Language began to emerge. In 1880, an international conference of teachers of deaf children met in Milan and voted to ban the teaching of Sign throughout most of Europe as they believed it to be detrimental to the acquisition of spoken and written language in deaf children. The ‘oral’ method of teaching all children, deaf and hearing, remained the standard for almost a century until the late 1970s when it was finally acknowledged that this method was failing large numbers of deaf children who were leaving school with low levels of literacy. In the latter half of the twentieth century extensive linguistic analysis was conducted on Sign Language (largely with American Sign Language), heralding a change in perception of Sign from a simple gestural code to a rich and expressive language. This, coupled with the general movement for

Skip to main content