Adamorobe Sign Language


Adamorobe Sign Language

language
name=Adamorobe Sign Language
states=Ghana
region=eastern Ghana, Adamorobe village
signers=1,200
iso3=ads

Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) is an indigenous sign language used in Adamorobe, an Akan village in eastern Ghana. Its users are about 30 deaf and 1370 hearing people.”cite article|author=Victoria Nyst|title=The phonology of name signs: a comparison between the sign languages of Uganda, Mali, Adamorobe and The Netherlands|date=In Baker et al. (eds.) Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research, Hamburg: Signum, 2003] cite article|author=Victoria Nyst|title=Verbs of motion in Adamorobe Sign Language|date=(unpublished paper presented at "Colloquium on African Languages & Linguistics 34", Leiden, August 2004, and at "Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 8", University of Barcelone), 2004] . Ethnologue reports a total of 3,400 signers, including hearing users, but a recent census mentions a total of 1400 inhabitants.

The Adamorobe community is notable for its unusually high incidence of hereditary deafness (genetic recessive autosome), estimated at 2% of the total population, or 15% according to Ethnologue. In the past, this percentage is thought to have been as high as 60%. Deaf people are fully incorporated into the community. The inhabitants of Adamorobe cannot remember a time without deaf people in the village.

Under these circumstances, Adamorobe has developed an indigenous sign language, fully independent from the country's standard Ghanaian Sign Language (which is related to American Sign Language). AdaSL shares signs and prosodic features with some other sign languages in the region, but it has been suggested these similarities are due to culturally shared gestures rather than a genetic relationship. AdaSL has features that set it apart from the sign languages of large Deaf communities studied so far, including the absence of classifier constructions for the expression of motion and location. Instead, AdaSL uses several types of serial verb constructions also found in the surrounding spoken language, Akan. Frishberg suggests that AdaSL may be related to the "gestural trade jargon used in the markets throughout West Africa". [cite book|author=Nancy Frishberg|title="Ghanaian Sign Language." In: Cleve, J. Van (ed.) Gallaudet encyclopaedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw-Gill Book Company|date=1987] Thus AdaSL provides an interesting domain for research on cross-linguistic sign languages.

Since over a decade, the deaf children of the village attend a boarding school in Mampong-Akuapem, where the ASL based Ghanaian Sign Language is used. As a consequence, this language has become the first language of these children and their command of AdaSL is decreasing. This is likely to lead to a complete shift of the deaf community in Adamorobe to Ghanaian Sign Language. As such, AdaSL is an endangered sign language.

Further reading

* Nyst, Victoria (2007) [http://www.lotpublications.nl/index3.html 'A descriptive analysis of Adamorobe Sign Language'] Utrecht: LOT, PhD thesis University of Amsterdam

References

External links

* [http://www.focusanthro.org/Archive2002-03/1identification.html Adamorobe — annotated picture gallery] , several pages by Elena Rue.
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ads Adamarobe Sign Language] on Ethnologue.com.
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwa4KdB7oV4 Summary of linguistic thesis Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) on Youtube, by Victoria Nyst]


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