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March 5, 2005

Deaf Use Different 'Dialects'

From: - UK - Mar 5, 2005

DEAF people have regional accents when they use sign language, scientists said yesterday.

For Geordies, Scousers, Brummies and Cockneys all use different gestures for many common words.

Milk, for instance, in Bristol is two clenched fists rubbing together while Glaswegians point the index finger of the left hand at the clenched fingers of the right.

University of Bristol researchers have so far identified at least 50 words that vary nationally.

Now they are asking 70,000 signers to provide a film of their hands in motion for a dictionary of the dialects.

The British Deaf Association said: "Regional variation is similar to spoken languages. But it is easier for the deaf to understand different signs."

© 2005