17 Regional Variation

English Notes
BSL Video

Regional Variation

Nowadays, radio and television programmes reach all parts of Britain, so everyone is aware how much variation there is in spoken English from region to region. Not only are the same words pronounced differently in different accents (e.g. Cornish compared to Yorkshire), but regional dialects may use different words for the same meaning, as well as having grammar which differs from "standard English".

It should come as no surprise to find that BSL also has regional variations. Sometimes these take the form of differences in the way signs are made, but more often they result in the use of entirely different signs (or groups of signs such as numbers).

Sign dialects (regional variations) can usually be traced to the signs used in the residential schools for Deaf children.  The signs used by pupils from the main residential school for Deaf children in a particular area, usually become the standard signs for adults living in that area.

As BSL does not have a conventional written form and has never been formally taught in schools, a standard form of the language is now in the process of being established through the use of BSL on television and through education and training courses which recruit nationally (e.g. at the universities of Durham, Bristol, Central Lancashire and Wolverhampton and further education colleges such as Doncaster College for the Deaf).


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