What is “Singapore Sign Language”?
Manual or Signed Languages are found naturally when there are deaf people in the community. In Singapore, there are about 5000 self-identified sign language users. Deaf people who do not hear spoken languages naturally communicate with each other using a visual form of language. Signed languages are as complex as spoken languages and have their own grammar, syntax, semantics, so on and so forth. Any characteristic that spoken languages possess, signed languages also possess.
Today, the sign language used among Deaf Singaporeans as the primary means of manual communication is known as Singapore Sign Language (SgSL), and is an amalgamation of Shanghainese Sign Language, American Sign Language, manually coded English and locally derived signs that relate specifically to Singapore, the experiences and sentiments of our local Deaf community and its culture. However, while socially recognised and accepted in the Deaf community, its vocabulary, grammatical structures, rules and morphology remain largely under-researched.
Studying Singapore Sign Language does enable you to communicate with members of the local Deaf community. Yet, it also helps you to cultivate a better understanding and appreciation of language use in society and its role in shaping identity and community.
For more information, please contact Singapore Sign Language coordinator at SGSignLanguage@ntu.edu.sg