Sign language deserves status shift

As someone that plies words as her trade, I’m forever disappointed that I’ve never managed to properly pick up another language (a big sorry to my high school French teacher for that one, she tried). But if I were to try and learn a new language these days I’ve often thought to myself that sign language would be the one I’d be most interested in.

While I’m all about acquiring new words, there’s something so alluring about a language that is motion based and couldn’t be more different from static text on a page. So I was really interested to see that today the beeb reported that Prof Graham Turner of Heriot-Watt uni is preparing to argue that sign language in Scotland is indigenous and developed naturally. He thinks the language should be awarded a minority status as one of the country’s lesser used languages.

So much of human communication is non-verbal that I find signing especially fascinating and I wonder how often people unfamiliar with the language unwittingly find themselves replicating accepted expressions as they try to get their point across. I hope that if anyone ever catches me doing so, I’m not saying anything too offensive!

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