History of SgSL

History of SgSL

Sign language is a visual-manual mode of communication. The linguistic structure and grammar of signed languages may differ from the surrounding spoken languages. Signed languages are not a visual representation of spoken languages; they exist as separate languages. Signed languages do not refer to miming and gestures, though it does incorporate these elements, just as spoken languages do.

Sign language is the primary mode of communication of the Deaf community. Deaf (capital D) refers to people who are deaf, not just in the auditory sense, but includes cultural identity as well.

The deaf education system in Singapore had adopted different signed languages and a sign system throughout the years, as listed below:

  • 1954: Shanghainese Sign Language
  • 1975: American Sign Language
  • 1978: Signed Exact English II

Within the social setting, another variety of signing existed. The Deaf community previously referred to this variety as native sign language. In 2009, a term was coined for this variety and it is Singapore Sign Language (SgSL). SgSL consists of local signs and is believed to be mainly influenced by the languages and system used in the deaf education system.