Ground-breaking British Sign Language survey
Press release issued: 2 February 2005
For the first time, BSL users will have the opportunity to take part in an interactive survey about the signs they use.
Did you know that British Sign Language (BSL) has regional dialects? The signs used across the UK, from Aberdeen to the Channel Islands, are very different. For the first time, BSL users will have the opportunity to take part in an interactive survey about the signs they use.
Over the coming months researchers at Bristol University’s Centre for Deaf Studies are collecting data, using signs from as many UK cities as possible to compile the first-ever comprehensive survey of BSL variation covering the whole of the British Isles.
The survey is part of a wider BBC project, Voices, which is looking at the impact of language on society as a whole.
Regular BSL users can help the Bristol researchers increase what is known about BSL variation by telling them which signs they use or know. Signs have already been collected from eight UK cities. Taking part in the survey will enable the researchers to identify where these signs are used. There is also an opportunity to send or email a video clip of signs used or known, which aren’t part of the survey. The results will be available in July 2005.
To take part in the survey go to www.bbc.co.uk/voices/ and click on ‘take part now’.
People who aren’t BSL users might be interested in learning more about BSL by looking at the video icons to find out where these signs are used.
Dr Rachel Sutton-Spence, Lecturer in the Centre for Deaf Studies at Bristol University, said: “Although BSL is used across the British Isles, there are considerable differences in regional dialects. We would like to encourage as many BSL users as possible to take part in the study.
“By taking part in the interactive survey you’ll be giving us an insight into how we sign today.“