Meghalaya SignBank - A variety of Indian Sign Language

The deaf community in Meghalaya consists of a group of children and adults who are either prelingually deaf or postlingually deaf. The community is not defined by geographical boundaries but by a sense of belonging that comes from the one common behavior which they share amongst themselves i.e., their ‘Sign Language’. This language can be referred to as the ‘Meghalaya Sign Language’ since it is commonly shared across the deaf communities in the state. The development of this Meghalaya SignBank would symbolize its strength as a linguistic entity and give recognition and empowerment to the language and its users. This would undoubtedly give a sense of pride and joy to the deaf community in the state and the developers of this app deserve to be lauded. The initiative to create this SignBank which is one of a kind in the country was taken by the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Meghalaya in collaboration with National Informatics Center(NIC), Meghalaya and Dr. Melissa G. Wallang, Asst. Prof, North East Regional Institute of Education, Unit of NCERT, Shillong. It was developed through a rigorous process of research and development; strictly following linguistic methodology where the data was collected from deaf native informants having the appropriate language background, cultural identification and membership with the deaf community. Such native signers have the meta knowledge of how their language works and understand the significance of this project as it would serve to promote sign language and help to gradually dispel the myths and general ignorance that the hearing population have about deaf people and their language.

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