Arabic Language Blog

Arabic sign language Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Culture

In this post, I deal with a very important aspect of non-verbal communication, i.e. sign language (لغة الإشارة) in the Arab world.

Sign language is used mainly by people with hearing impairment (إعاقة سمعية) that prevents them from communicating acoustically. Therefore, they communicate using hand movements, facial expressions and body movements. Sign language allows its users to communicate effectively and quickly. It differ from one country o another, and when we speak about Arab countries, we have Egyptian sign language, Saudi sign language, Kuwaiti sign language, etc.

Arabic sign languages have similarities and differences from each other just like the spoken languages, and there have been efforts to document them and to standardize them in different countries.

There is a growing interest in the communities of the deaf and mute (الصم والبكم) in different Arab countries, and this is evident in many ways. There are special schools for them in which all subjects are taught in sign languages.

I remember many years ago, I went to a restaurant in Alexandria that was completely run by deaf and mute people, and the only way to communicate at the restaurant was to sign to them, or point to items on the menu. The following report is about a similar restaurant, but in Cairo.

Also, in most Arab television channels, there is a special time of day when the programs are translated into sign language. This is mainly the time of the main news bulletin, and the times of special events like the religious and national celebrations.

Arabic Alphabet can be expressed in sign language.



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