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SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2008-001

A survey of sign language in Taiwan

Author  Hurlbut, Hope M.

In March 2003, SIL International undertook a survey of sign language in Taiwan. Wordlists and stories were collected from schools for the Deaf in each of the major cities of Taiwan, namely, Taipei, Taichung,Tainan, and Kaohsiung. The wordlists were transcribed by hand using the SignWriting orthography.

The comparison of the wordlists indicated only one sign language, Taiwanese Sign Language (TSL). An intelligibility test was not required as regional differences were minimal. The results from each city were then compared with Japanese Sign Language (JSL) and Chinese Sign Language (CSL). Japanese Sign Language was introduced into Taiwan early in the twentieth century. Chinese Sign Language was introduced in the mid-twentieth century after the Second World War. (The CSL list used for comparison was taken from the Internet and was referenced as standard Beijing Sign Language.) The comparisons showed just over 50 percent similarity between TSL and JSL, and just over 30 percent similarity between TSL and CSL. Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) was also said to be related to TSL, so it was also compared, but the scores between the two were very low, ranging between 42–52 percent. It was reported that Korean SL (SKSL) had influenced TSL, but these scores were even lower, between 36 and 48 percent.

  A survey of sign language in Taiwan
Published  2008
Languages  Chinese Sign Language [csl]
Hong Kong Sign Language [hks]
Japanese Sign Language [jsl]
Korean Sign Language [kvk]
Taiwan Sign Language [tss]
Country  Taiwan
Subjects  Language surveys
Sign languages
Keywords  Language surveys; Sign languages