About Saint Mary's

University-community partnership launch YouTube-based sign language tool

30 January, 2017

Interpreter Ashley Campbell and Dr. Linda Campbell


Imagine travelling across Atlantic Canada without knowing how to properly pronounce the names of the towns and cities you are visiting. For members of the deaf community, knowing the local sign for place names across Atlantic Canada has been difficult—until now.
 
Today, Jan. 30, marks the launch of the Atlantic Provinces Sign Language Place Names Map. This map is a first of its kind online tool that contains place names from across Atlantic Canada in American Sign Language (ASL) and the regional dialect Maritime Sign Language (MSL) shared with viewers through YouTube.
 
“Anytime you travel or go to a new place, one of the first things you want to know is the name of that place,” said Dr. Linda Campbell, a member of the project team and professor at Saint Mary’s. “For deaf people, we often have difficulty knowing the correct sign for places we visit as each community often has its own local sign to refer to their area.”
 
“The last thing anyone visiting a new community wants to do is to continually mispronounce that name and it is pretty obvious when you are signing the wrong sign.”
 
There are many cities across the Atlantic Provinces that have unique sign names that demonstrate the present day sign languages used, which is a mix of both ASL and MSL. This map will be particularly helpful to ASL and MSL communicators as using correctly articulated and appropriate signs is critical for clear sign language communication.
 
All on-screen signers are local deaf community members, and the project was funded by deaf and interpreting community organizations.
 
Try the map.