A Lexicostatistic Survey of the Signed Languages in Nepal

Statement of Responsibility:
Hurlbut, Hope M

This report concerns a 2006 lexicostatistical survey of the signed languages of Nepal. Wordlists and stories were collected in several towns of Nepal from Deaf school leavers who were considered to be representative of the Nepali Deaf. In each city or town there was a school for the Deaf either run by the government or run by one of the Deaf Associations. The wordlists were transcribed by hand using the SignWriting orthography. Two other places were visited where it was learned that there were possibly unique sign languages, in Jumla District, and also in Ghandruk (a village in Kaski District). Neither place had a school for the Deaf.

The results of the wordlist comparisons showed that there are at least three signed languages in the country. In addition, there is another sign language that was not investigated as part of this survey (Taylor 1997).

Nepali Sign Language (NpSL) was created by the Deaf children in the main Deaf school in Kathmandu during the days of oralism. This school was started in 1967.

In more recent years NpSL has been introduced to many Deaf in scattered areas in Nepal mainly by the Deaf themselves. The Deaf Associations have undertaken to open classes for Deaf children in many places where the government does not yet have a school for the Deaf.

23 pages
Language surveys
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