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1st Sign Language System Developed for Ethnic Deaf-mutes

A sign language system especially for Tibetan deaf-mutes, had been developed and spread to various parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region.


This is the first sign language system designed for deaf-mutes of a minority ethnicity in China, which has 55 ethnic groups whose combined population account for about six percent of the national total.


The Tibetan dactylology comprises more than 700 basic signs popular among deaf-mutes in everyday life. These signs are easy to comprehend, learn and be used.


This dactylology system differs from the one being used nationwide as the latter is basically a kind of Chinese characters conversion whereas many Tibetans can neither read nor write the Chinese characters.


The sign language system was created by a deaf club composed of four Tibetans with the aid of relevant international organizations for the disabled. They collected sign languages among Tibetan deaf-mutes, turned the signs into images with Tibetan explanations and unified the final one after prolonged, repeated trial use.


Members of the club will set off for Xigaze, Shannan and Nyingchi prefectures later this month to popularize the dactylology among local Tibetan deaf farmers and herdsmen.


(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2004)


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