Kerala Social Justice and Higher Education R. Bindu on Wednesday released the first Malayalam uniform sign language alphabet, saying that it would bring about a qualitative change in the lives of the hearing-impaired, and promised to look into its use in special schools.
“Discussions will be initiated with the General Education Department regarding the use of Malayalam alphabet in sign language in special schools across the state,” said Bindu while releasing the sign language alphabet developed by the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), in collaboration with the All Kerala Association of the Deaf.
“It is the result of the dedicated effort of NISH, taking into account the difficulties of the hearing-impaired, who communicate by making gestures with their hands in the air. Currently, English and Hindi have alphabets in sign language. The newly developed alphabet in Malayalam will open up immense possibilities for the deaf community,” he added.
NISH Executive Director M. Anjana said that the development of the sign language in Malayalam is a significant achievement and addresses a long-felt void.
NISH’s Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation’s K.G. Satheesh Kumar said that like other global languages, sign language is an independent language. With the advent of Malayalam alphabet in sign language, the hearing-impaired will be able to read and write Malayalam.
The Malayalam alphabet, consisting of vowels and consonants, is finger spelled in sign language. Its primary phase has been designed exclusively for the deaf schools across Kerala. The new sign language alphabet in Malayalam will eliminate the challenge of teachers in conveying messages through lip movement.