A vocabulary of sign language which is to revolutionise how science is taught to deaf children has reached a milestone today with its thousandth sign.
The sign language for ‘fireball’ is the thousandth term to be added to a website compiled by experts for use by teachers, interpreters and pupils.
The University of Edinburgh project began in 2007 is supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Qualification Authority, Heriot-Watt University and The University of Strathclyde.
The glossary has been developed to meet demand from deaf pupils and teachers for a wider scientific vocabulary in British Sign Language.
The resource means that a simple words such as ‘fireball’ can be communicated with a single sign rather than spelling it out letter by letter.
Users can access on-line video clips of the terms and definitions in sign which will help pupils studying astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics maths and soon Geography.
Complex terms – such as ‘asteroid’, ‘black hole’ or ‘density’ – are explained by on-screen tutors who employ simple definitions that aid understanding.
The vocabulary has been developed by a team of Deaf scientists, teachers and sign linguists at the University’s Scottish Sensory Centre.