Why sign language?

I find sign language fascinating.

  • It's a language unlike the any other languages I know.
  • It uses a different set of body parts to communicate.
  • Sign language linguistics is hard.
  • Sign language recognition is hard(er).

And it surprises me.

For the longest time, I thought sign language used only the hands and arms. Only when I started reading about it and interacting with the Deaf, did it become clear that it uses the whole body. The face and body posture is important in discourse. That's the exciting part, we (I) don't know how important it is, yet. Sign language linguistics is in its infancy when compared to spoken and written linguistics.

FSL also opened my eyes to the plight of the Deaf. The most valuable lesson I have learned is this:

The most important thing about sign language is the Deaf person using it.


  1. It is great to finally see a change in the way we look at the Deaf in the Philippines. Your view suggests empowerment, a move away from deaf into Deaf. And that will simply multiply positively. It is wonderfully hopeful, and so is your work.

    I work with the Deaf community in Bicol. The oppression they experience is heartbreaking, especially those who are left with rudimentary homesigns.

    It is nice to see some change in Philippine society...a move in the right direction =)

    If I may ask, what involvement do you have in the Deaf community in the Philippines? (other than your current research).

    I will continue reading your blog =)

    Vanessa (

  2. As you may have guessed, I update my blog sporadically and I don't always see comments. My apologies your comment got suck in moderation!

    Regarding your question, I help Dr. Martinez of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center (link on the sidebar) with some projects, and I sometimes act as an emergency interpreter for my Deaf friend in UP (although my FSL skills are still rudimentary.