Globibo Blog

Chinese Sign Language

Although China has its own sign language, it isn’t very encouraging of its usage. Deaf people number between 1-20 million in the nation and yet the education system there has stigmatized the use of CSL for most of the last five decades. An oralist approach is taken, and deaf Chinese people are pushed to receive treatment from hearing rehabilitation centers.
Of late, however, the situation has improved, and Chinese Sign Language is gaining popularity thanks to special schools for the deaf being opened across the country. American missionaries opened the first Sign Language school for Chinese people. CSL differs quite a bit from ASL though and incorporates aspects that are unique to the Chinese culture and way of life.
Chinese Sign Language has two separate dialects – Southern CSL, I.e. spoken in Shanghai and Northern CSL that has more credit in Beijing. Shanghai CSL is the more preferred dialect. CSL syntax is modeled on Mandarin Chinese. CSL is now used as part of the Chinese education system as also in Chinese media for effecting more inclusivity. The sign language can signify tone with gestures and has published dictionaries for the benefit of those interested to learn the language.  

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