Investigation of an endangered village sign language in India
Language: Alipur Village Sign Language (AVSL)
Depositor: Sibaji Panda
Summary of depositThe data for AVSL, an endangered sign language in a village community, relates to a rare situation where hereditary deafness over several generations has given rise to an indigenous village sign language.
The village of Alipur in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is a Shia Muslim enclave in a dominantly Hindu area. Though not geographically isolated, the village is restrictive in its contact with people in the surrounding area and therefore socially isolated. Due to patterns of intermarriage over a long time, hereditary deafness is widespread in the village. There are currently an estimated 250 deaf people of all ages in the village among a population of several thousands of people. Since there is increasing contact with the Indian Sign Language users and marriage patterns are beginning to change, the survival of the village sign language is in question. All the deaf and a substantial number of hearing people communicate in the village sign language, but the sign language has no official status, and no formal education is available to deaf children in the village. The village and its sign language have never been documented before.
Group representedAlipur Village
Deposit contentsThe data relates to Alipur Village Sign Language, India. Naturally, as this is a sign language, all files are video recordings. Most files come in mpeg2 format, while a few files are mpeg1 and mpeg4 format. The data includes casual conversations, narratives, and linguistic elicitation on colours, number, and kinship.
A good example of a video showing village life, is the one about the fruit store owner. A number of videos show villagers' bargaining skills, on items such as mobile phones and bottles in these videos.