Scots sign-language glossary reaches milestone


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 project is led by the University of Edinburgh
The project is led by the University of Edinburgh


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.